For the millions of people who suffer from one of the many types of arthritis, pain and the limitation of all physical activities represent a dark and upsetting reality. Unfortunately, often times the situation gets out of control, because the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are mistaken for signs of a less damaging kind of arthritis or for the symptoms of a totally different health issue. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include acute joint pain, stiffness, fatigue and even loss of appetite.
Rheumatoid arthritis is what doctors call an “autoimmune disease” – the immune system generates a response against its own tissues, causing inflammation and tissue frailty. In this case, the affected body part is the surrounding tissue of the joint, better known as Sa ynovial membrane. The disease usually affects the elderly and middle aged people, but there are also cases of children diagnosed with this condition.
It is hard to say what exactly causes rheumatoid arthritis. Its insidious behavior makes it almost impossible for doctors to identify it in its early phases and many patients can go on for months without experiencing the symptoms of RA, followed by periods of excruciating joint pains. Moreover, symptoms such as subcutaneous nodules frequently deceive patients into believing that they suffer from some form of cancer.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include the inflammation of the wrists and foot joints and an overall poor medical status. Frequently the joints become swollen and stiff and there is a big risk that they will deform in time. The disease manifests in waves, painful periods alternating with periods without a single symptom.
A sprained ankle which seems to take forever to heal should be taken as a warning sign even by youngsters. Another symptom of this disease is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is manifested by tingling in the wrists and palms, caused by an inflammation of the nerves in the arm.
Other RA symptoms include eye problems, painful or locked joints, morning stiffness and nodules. If apart from any of the above presenting symptoms you experience dry eyes, it may help if you also see a specialist other than the ophthalmologist. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis present a high risk of being diagnosed with Sjogren syndrome, an autoimmune condition which causes dryness of the eyes, mouth, nose and skin.
One of the easiest-to-recognize symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is the sensation of morning stiffness. This symptom is also a characteristic of osteoporosis and it can trigger pain over a prolonged period of inactivity, such as sleep. However, telling one condition from the other is quite simple: the feeling of pain present in osteoporosis fades in less than an hour. If it lasts more than that, it is clearly one of the many rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms.
If you are in doubt whether or not you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, this article should help you to understand better how the condition behaves. If you experience any of the above presented symptoms of RA, please schedule an appointment with your physician or visit a specialist to find out how to properly treat the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
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