Rheumatoid arthritis is a long term condition affecting every person in a different way. For some, it can occur for a long time, while for others, remissions can be shorter. When the rheumatic condition is not active, symptoms can be absent. People diagnosed with this disease can have the condition inactive for even as long as a month.
Although it may involve various parts of the body, the major structures that are affected are the joints. When it becomes active, this is the time when joints become inflamed. In the normal process, inflammation is due to the body's reaction to infection or other harmful attacks of dangerous foreign organisms. But for rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation occurs within normal bodily processes with reasons not known.
The joints that rheumatoid arthritis most usually affects are the hands, particularly the knuckles. This is due to the reason that these bony prominences are the most to experience pressure. But then, rheumatoid symptoms can also develop in any joint, like the wrists, neck, knees, shoulders, elbows, and even in jaws. In almost all cases, the joints are symmetrically affected.
The hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation of joints along with these rheumatoid symptoms.
One of the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms experienced by individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis is stiffness. The joints become harder, thus mobility and dexterity are affected. The trademark symptom is "morning stiffness". These people wait for an hour or more for their joints to loosen up and movement is tolerable.
Next is swelling. The accumulation of fluid in the affected joints results to edematous joint areas. The build-up of fluid also causes greater stiffness.
Pain is also among the rheumatoid symptoms. The joints are tender, sensitive and painful. Chronic inflammation results in damage of the joints.
Warm and red joint areas also observed. The erythema or redness of the area also tends to be visible in nearby muscles and skin.
Fatigue or feelings of excessive tiredness are also felt, as rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic condition that can affect the body in general.
Malaise, also called general body weakness is evident in arthritis patients. These persons feel ill.
Anorexia, or the medical term for appetite loss is also evident. This leads to weight loss.
Muscular pain is also noted, as muscles cover the joints. The inflammation of the joints leads to muscular atrophy or death of tissue because muscles become immobile due to pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are often compared to the flu but they can be less severe, and may last for shorter periods. It can affect the body in general, thus aside from the main structures involved which are the joints, other body parts can be greatly affected. In moderate to severe cases, multiples body organs can be severely damaged.
Thus, when a person is experiencing rheumatoid symptoms, early diagnosis from a doctor, early intervention, and aggressive treatments if possible are highly recommended. This way, symptoms are managed during the initial phase, and progression of rheumatoid arthritis is deferred, and less damage will occur.
When you have symptoms, early and aggressive treatment can help prevent further symptoms as well as stop progression of rheumatoid arthritis.