How To Recognize The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Since many of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to mimic those of other types of arthritis, it may be difficult at first to distinguish what type of arthritis you are suffering from. One of the telltale symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis might be the symmetry with which you experience the joint inflammation. While other types of arthritis may only occur in a particular joint or on one side of the body, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms tend to affect both sides of the body simultaneously.

The reason for this difference lies in the cause of the disease. While other types of arthritis are generally caused by deterioration of cartilage from use, rheumatoid arthritis is the result of the body’s immune system attacking its own joints and surrounding tissues. The result is painful inflammation and swelling that can be painful to the touch and cause redness around the joints. The disease may occasionally affect other parts of the body as well, like the skin, lungs and heart. There is no know cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but symptoms can be treated through exercise, medication and plenty of rest.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms To Look For

During the times when the disease is active, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite and low-grade fever. Muscle and joint inflammation and swelling can be painful, even to the touch. Stiffness and pain are generally felt more intensely first thing in the morning and after periods of inactivity. Joints that are inflamed may become red and swollen. Occasionally in advanced cases, there can be lack of function and deformity of some joints. Fortunately, there are many medications on the market that can reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by alleviating pain and reducing the joint swelling that is involved. Some medications can even slow the deterioration of the joints that is common with this disease.

Treating Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

The best treatment for your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms is to see a rheumatologist as soon as possible. A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Once your doctor has run tests to diagnose your illness, you will be able to begin a course of treatment that will include pain management and an exercise regimen that will help keep joints healthy and functioning. The good news is that early medical intervention to control your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can greatly reduce the probability of any long-term disability from the disease.

Related Information and Products

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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The Arthritis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, control and cure of arthritis in the United States.