Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious condition. Understanding and awareness of the symptoms is crucial for knowing when to seek help.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that many people worry about as they grow older, and many people believe they have it without ever having been properly diagnosed. Unlike “regular” arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can be treated with proper medications, lifestyle changes, and therapy. The only person who can diagnose rheumatoid arthritis is a physician, so when someone experiences symptoms associated with the disease, they should consult with a doctor rather than attempting to treat it on their own.
Common Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Of all the symptoms, morning stiffness is the most common. If someone wakes up in the morning and experiences stiffness in one or more joints, then this may be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. This stiffness may last for hours after waking and usually occurs in the hands or wrists.
Rheumatoid arthritis effects the joints, so the sufferer will notice problems in and around the joints, particularly the wrists and ankles at first. Joints will become stiff, tender to the touch, and may swell. In addition, the sufferer’s hands may also become red and puffy and the joints may feel warmer than usual. if this is the case, a arthritis in the hand pain relief kit can help enormously.
Joint problems that arise because of rheumatoid arthritis usually occur in the same joints on both sides of the body. If someone who has the disease experiences pain in the left wrist, then the right wrist will usually suffer as well. This symmetry of the symptoms helps to distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from the other forms of arthritis.
These common signs of rheumatoid arthritis can easily be dismissed due to their chronic nature. Someone may experience a week or two of morning stiffness and then feel fine for several weeks or months afterwards before the stiffness returns. Many people, including those who do not suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, experience symptoms associated with the disease without actually having it. However, if these symptoms persist for more than a few days or return several times throughout the year then consultation should be scheduled immediately.
Other Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are several other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that may be overlooked by someone unfamiliar with the disease. These symptoms include:
Flu-like symptoms such as fever
Small, hard bumps under the skin of the arm
General fatigue or malaise
Pain the back of the knees and down the calf
Because rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that effects the entire immune system, there can be many symptoms that occur because of the disease that seem completely unrelated to the disease. Anyone who experiences muscle or joint stiffness in addition to other unusual symptoms should see a physician as soon as possible.
When to Seek Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious condition which has no cure at this time. However, the disease can be controlled and the symptoms treated through medication and therapy. If left unchecked the disease can lead to the loss of joint function and deformity.
Anyone older than 25 who experiences the symptoms discussed should talk to their doctor as soon as possible so that a proper diagnosis can be made. Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis as men so they should be particularly aware. With proper treatment, it is possible to live a normal lifestyle with rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is not something that should be treated without the advice of a physician and not something that should be ignored.