|Content Below :||What is Rheumatoid Arthritis · Early Symptoms of Arthritis · Common Symptoms for Rheumatoid Arthritis · Prevention|
Rheumatoid arthritis (often misspelled as ‘rhumetoid arthritis’ or misnamed rheumatory arthritis) is an autoimmune disease. In this form of arthritis, for reasons that are not understood, the immune system goes awry and attacks the body’s own tissues, especially the synovial lining surrounding the lubricating fluid in joints.
This leads to inflammation of the lining, resulting in excessive production of joint (synovial) fluid and chronic inflammation of the joint itself.
There are many types of arthritis. Persistent joint inflammation and pain are the hallmark early symptoms of arthritis in general.
Early symptoms of arthritis typically include :
- Tenderness or pain in the joints, due to inflammation that may also damage the joints and further contribute to the pain.
- Stiffness of joints especially in the mornings or after not being used for a while.
- Sometimes the joint feels warm and appears pink or reddish.
The pain can come on gradually or appear suddenly. It can take the form of just an ache or stiffness, or develop into a grinding or a sharp burning pain. Deformity of one or more joints may eventually take place.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory arthritis. It usually develops gradually. Diagnosing it at the onset is not easy, as rheumatoid arthritis’ early symptoms bear a great resemblance to those of many other health conditions.
Even when arthritis-specific symptoms develop, typically only one or two may show up at first. In addition to the early symptoms of arthritis that the various types share in common, symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis itself differs for different people.
Common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis :
- Early symptoms of arthritis listed above, but the inflammation and pain typically affect multiple joints symmetrically on both sides of the body. Any joint, such as those of the neck, shoulders, elbows, jaw, hips, and ankles can be affected, but the most common ones are those of the knuckles, wrists, knees, and ball of the foot.
- Swelling due to excessive fluid in the joint making it puffy.
- One of rheumatoid arthritis’ early symptoms is morning stiffness of joints that, unlike for other forms of arthritis, takes more than an hour to loosen.
- Chronic inflammation can also occur in tissues around joints, such as in the ligaments, tendons and muscles, and damage them.
- Such damage can cause loss of cartilage, and weaken ligaments and bones from the onset of the disease, leading to deformity and loss of function of the joints. The damage is usually progressive, and may not correlate to the level of pain or swelling of the joint
Before the onset of these common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis, early symptoms that might precede are :
- Excessive fatigue
- Loss of appetite that may cause loss of weight
- Morning stiffness that lasts more than an hour
- Widespread muscle aches
- Feeling of weakness or general malaise (feeling ill)
Rheumatoid arthritis always affects joints but it can also attack tissues in other parts of the body, especially in more severe cases of the disease. This can manifest as additional symptoms such as :
- Low-grade fever
- Anemia due to the bone marrow being unable to produce enough red blood cells
- Firm lumps under the skin (rheumatoid nodules) that are roughly pea sized, usually near the elbows or fingers but possibly elsewhere too, that in rare cases become infected and sore
- Inflammation of the eye glands, that can cause red, painful, itching, or dry eyes, though this only happens in under 5% of RA cases
- Inflammation of the lung lining (pleurisy) that may result in scarred lung tissue, and breathlessness, coughing, or chest pain
- Inflammation of the lining around the heart that may sometimes lead to breathlessness, or a chest pain that changes in intensity when leaning forward or lying down. People with RA are also more likely to develop clogged heart arteries, with higher risk of a heart attack.
- Blood vessel inflammation (rheumatoid vasculitis) might occur in rare cases, usually with long-standing RA, and may hinder blood supply to tissues and cause tissue death. Initial symptoms include rheumatoid nodules and small black spots on nail-beds.
- In very rare cases, RA may even affect the joint in the larynx (voice box) that is responsible for voice tone, and cause hoarseness if the joint becomes inflamed.
While rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease lasting for years, there can be long intermittent periods of remission that are symptom-free. However, it is usually a progressive disease. Destruction of joints may occur within 1 to 2 years and result in disability in the long term.
Seek medical advice if you think you are experiencing the above common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis. Early symptoms identification can lead to early treatment and help slow down or stop progression of the disease.
Among the contributing causes of arthritis is prolonged deficiency of some nutrients. Increasing intake of these nutrients may help prevent or treat the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis naturally.
One way to do so is to take a high quality arthritis supplement with all the necessary nutrients. In addition, maintain a healthy diet containing foods that help prevent arthritis.
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