Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

The confounding aspect of rheumatoid arthritis or RA is that no two cases are similar. One can be intrigued by varying symptoms that may be subtle, whereas flared and severe in another. Similarly, it could be gradually progressive in some, while striking sudden and fast in others. Generally, the pre-symptoms can be vague like an ache or stiffness that appears to be solved with a gentle movement, but with a tendency to be recurring and painful on occasions. However, this is not so in all cases.

The foremost symptom of rheumatoid arthritis may just be fatigue which is usually dismissed. Lack of energy and tiredness may be persistent, even in the mornings. This is due to the fact that the antibodies causing the invasion affect the central nervous system and not just the joint. The high inflammation leads to fatigue and chronic pain can be stressful by the end of the day. The pain could cause sleeplessness and tired mornings, a troubled mood, thereafter forming a vicious cycle.

Joint pain, stiffness, swelling (Edema) along with mild flu are typical characteristics of this condition. The affected joints are warm and reddish with inflammation and pain—initially in one joint (monoarthritis) and over time in multiple joints (polyarthritis), occurring first in smaller joints such as the wrists, hand or feet. The inflammation associated with this condition is what can damage other parts of the body as well.

Morning stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes, particularly in smaller joints and often in fingers, is a common symptom associated with rheumatoid arthritis. In its early stages, a person may tend to experience difficulty in moving the wrist back and forth. There may be a restricted range in the movement of the affected parts, especially the weight-bearing joints like the knee. A general feeling of stiffness in the overall body is also a typical sign of this condition. Unexplained weight loss can be yet another early warning sign of the impending disease. This could be possibly attributed to the inflammation that causes fatigue and fever, thereafter a loss of appetite.

Numbness and a tingling feeling in the hands and feet are common in many cases. These symptoms are caused by nerve compression due to the inflammation, resulting in loss of sensation. One may notice the symmetry of affected joints on both sides of the body; however, this may not occur in all cases. Many times, this symptom could easily be mistaken for carpal tunnel, which is yet another difficult situation to manage. However, it is best to consult a doctor to avoid this ambiguity. This is because the modality of treatment and carpel tunnel is totally different.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a complicated disease, and it has been found that it takes some time for a definitive diagnosis. In most cases, the onset of this is gradual and well established, even before the actual diagnosis. In general, patients may present varied manifestations of the disease since many symptoms are similar to other conditions.

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