Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis - What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms?

Arthritis affects many people all over the world in the US alone over twenty million Americans are reported that are afflicted with this debilitating disease. Arthritis is the general condition involving the damage of the joints in the body. There are many forms of arthritis and one of the most common forms of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that causes severe pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation. In rheumatoid arthritis, the autoimmune system of the body mistakenly attacks the tissues of the body causing the lining of the joints to swell, that can result in pain, swelling, and eventually become deformed. One characteristic of the disease is that it is symmetrical in nature, meaning both parts of the body such as the wrist, knees, elbows, and hips can be attacked at the same time and pain is felt on both sides of the body.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can even bring daily activities such a burden like walking or holding a pen. The symptoms maybe chronic or it could be a transient disease. When the joints are inflame this is the active stage of the disease, which is also called flare ups or flares, the inactive stage is called the remission stage and this can be due to medication or treatment, and it can last for weeks, months or even years depending on the management and the severity of the disease.

The remission of the disease varies from person to person, though the reason for the recurrence is still unknown patients are given some pointers on how to manage the disease and how to spot the early onset of the rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may include general feeling of fatigue, malaise, fever, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain and stiffness, which is usually felt during the morning after waking up; you feel stiff all over and have a hard time to move because of the pain. This can also be felt during prolong inactivity, the muscles becomes stiff and harden and movement is difficult. During this episode, the affected areas of the body are inflamed, swollen and warm, and the skin around the area is red and tender to the touch.

At the early onset rheumatoid arthritis only affects the small joints of the body, the fingers, wrist, ankles and feet. As the disease progresses large part of the joints are affected especially those that are weight bearing joints such as the hips, knees, elbows, and shoulders could be affected. Deformity is a common sight for people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis this is due to the rheumatoid nodules that sprouts around the bones, bones become brittle and eventually loss its function.

As of this date there are no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment that is available right now aims to slow down the bone degeneration and maximize joint function, reduce the pain, swelling, and inflammation. Disease management involves family education, medications, rest, exercise for joint and bone strengthening and protection. Treatment varies from the stage of the disease, age of the patient and general health, support of the family is one of the important factors of the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

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