Healthremedy123.com – Rheumatoid arthritis can damage joints and other parts of the body, including the eyes and lungs. Without treatment, damaged cartilage can cause the joints to deform and eventually become fused.
Early Signs of RA Include Stiffness in More Than One Joint
The first sign of RA is usually stiffness in more than one joint, especially in the morning. It may last for weeks or months, and come and go. Early signs of RA include tenderness and pain in small joints like those in the fingers or toes, especially when you wake up or after prolonged rest. It may also affect several joints at once. Other symptoms are more general, such as fatigue or a fever. They often come along with inflammation that leads to joint damage.
Treatment can improve symptoms and reduce damage. A rheumatologist might prescribe disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate, leflunomide or sulfasalazine. These can take weeks to work, so your doctor might also prescribe medicines that can relieve pain and inflammation more quickly. These include NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib, and steroids such as prednisone.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint swelling that changes the shape and size of a bone. This happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. The inflammation also stretches the ligaments and tendons that hold bones together. That can cause the joints to shift out of place and become unstable. Swelling in early rheumatoid arthritis often affects smaller joints, such as the ones that connect the fingers to the hands and toes to feet. It usually happens in the same joints on both sides of the body.
Things that Can Make Joints Feel Painful When Touched
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, when they started and if they come and go. He or she will examine your joints for pain, tenderness and swelling. Your doctor may also order blood tests to check your erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP), which are markers for inflammation in the body. Inflammation causes the lining of a joint to thicken and produces extra fluid that can irritate nerves. This can make the joints feel tender to touch. This feeling often affects both sides of the body, especially the small joints of the hands and feet. The feeling may last for a few hours or several days and improve with movement.
The joints in RA are often warm, and the skin surrounding them may be red. This is because inflammation causes the blood vessels to widen. This can also cause a feeling of stiffness, especially in the morning.
Some people with RA develop firm bumps under the skin called nodules. These are caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals. These nodules may affect the heart and lungs, and can lead to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and dry eyes and mouth. A doctor can check for rheumatoid arthritis by taking a medical history and doing a physical exam. They can also check for swelling, pain and tenderness. A blood test can show if you have high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
Common Complaints of Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers
Fatigue is a common complaint of people with rheumatoid arthritis. It can occur at any time and can be a significant problem. It can make it difficult to concentrate, or keep up with work or household duties. It can also make it harder to enjoy family and friend gatherings. Everyone feels tired from time to time, but when fatigue becomes a regular occurrence and does not improve after resting or getting more sleep, it is called chronic fatigue. It is a symptom that can be caused by the RA itself, other health conditions, medications and/or lifestyle habits.
A doctor will usually do a physical examination and ask questions about diet, sleep patterns and recent stressful events. They may recommend blood, urine or x-ray tests to try and find the cause of the fatigue. Most people interviewed experienced weight gain as a consequence of living with rheumatoid arthritis. Excess body weight can lead to inflammation and worsening rheumatoid arthritis, which is why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.
Other symptoms that can be associated with rheumatoid include nodules (bumps/lumps) which appear overnight on tendons and joints, most commonly on elbows and fingers. These can be painful or not and often disappear on their own, but they may require aspiration, steroid injection or removal. Other tests that are done to look for signs of RA include x-rays, joint aspiration (a small fluid sample taken from a swollen joint), blood tests such as CRP and ESR, ultrasound or MRI scans. Eating a diet rich in oily fish, nuts, seeds, canola and flaxseed oils can help reduce inflammation markers in the body. We really appreciate and welcome guest post submissions from you.
Hafström, I., Ringertz, B., Spångberg, A., Von Zweigbergk, L., Brannemark, S., Nylander, I., … & Klareskog, L. (2001). A vegan diet free of gluten improves the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: the effects on arthritis correlate with a reduction in antibodies to food antigens. Rheumatology, 40(10), 1175-1179.