Definition: a generalized disease, occurring more often in women, which primarily affects connective tissue; arthritis is the dominant clinical manifestation, involving many joints, especially those of the hands and feet, accompanied by thickening of articular soft tissue, with extension of synovial tissue over articular cartilages, which become eroded; the course is variable but often is chronic and progressive, leading to deformities and disability.
Synonym(s): arthritis deformans, nodose rheumatism1
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