Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition characterized by inflammation in the joints. It can also affect organs and tissues; however, most discomfort is felt in the joints. Although it is not debilitating for everyone, it can become very serious. If you suspect you may have rheumatoid arthritis, see your doctor, who can test you for the disease and prescribe treatment.
Symptoms include varying degrees of pain in the joints. One of the classic symptoms is that whatever is happening on one side of the body will also be occurring on the other side. Therefore, if you notice swelling, pain, or tenderness in one joint on the left side of your body and in the same joint on the right side of your body, you may be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
You may notice these same symptoms in more than one joint or area of your body. Although you can have arthritis without having rheumatoid, sometimes, it is difficult to tell which form you are suffering from without seeing a doctor. Your doctor can test you for this by doing a blood test and listening to your symptoms. Blood tests are not always conclusive proof that you do or do not have this type of arthritis so it is important to track your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor.
Rheumatoid arthritis is usually worse in the mornings and you may feel stiff for several hours. In severe cases, the eyes and lungs can be affected as well. If you have difficulty seeing or have trouble breathing, seek medical attention right away.