Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that will cause the joints of individuals to be chronically inflamed. Autoimmune diseases cause the body’s immune system to incorrectly attack its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause inflammation in other organs of the body. The primary arthritis symptom is pain in the joints.
Arthritis Symptoms Exposed
This disease is common and affects over 1 million people in the United States. Research shows that this disease is much more common in women than men and it can affect all races. This chronic disease can last for several years. In some cases, it is even progressive and can worsen to the point where individuals may become disabled. The joint is where two ends of bones meet and ongoing inflammation of this area can lead to damage of the bone, cartilage, and ligaments; which results in deformed joints.
Despite this disease being chronic, the symptoms are not always present depending on how much the joints are inflamed. When the tissues are inflamed, the disease is active. When the tissues are not inflamed, the disease is inactive but still present in the body. The disease can “disappear” spontaneously and this period can last anywhere between weeks and years. When the symptoms return, this is known as a flare.
Arthritis symptoms in its active state can include muscle and joint aches, stiffness, fatigue, low energy, lack of appetite, and a low fever. These symptoms are usually most prominent after one wakes up and after duration of inactivity. Sometimes people with this disease may experience locked joints. It most commonly happens in the elbows and knees because there tends to be excessive swelling in the tendons of those joints. If the joints cannot bend, it can lead to cysts which can restrict movement. Nodules (or firm lumps) may be found under the skin near joints that are affected. This often occurs in individuals who have more advanced arthritis.
Other arthritis symptoms can include a limited range of motion, swelling, redness, and rashes. Some people may believe that they have injuries that are not healing, but it really is due to rheumatoid arthritis. This often occurs in younger individuals. Another symptom is numbness or tingling hands and wrists. This specific symptom is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. People with rheumatoid arthritis are also at risk of another autoimmune disorder known as Sjogrens syndrome. This disorder causes dryness in the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and skin.
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Arthritis: Symptoms, Therapies and Treatments