It’s a progressive autoimmune disorder. Chronic inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can result in permanent joint deformity and destruction. The condition is characterized by periods of remissions and disease flares. Tampa rheumatoid arthritis experts note that the disease can cause joint damage and pain throughout your body. So, if your arm or leg is affected, there is a high chance that the other arm or leg will be affected too. The treatment works only if the doctor diagnoses it early. Therefore, it’s vital that you know the symptoms.
This condition occurs when the immune system attacks the lining membranes that surround your joints. This results in inflammation thickening the synovium and eventually destroying the bone and cartilage within that joint.
It weakens the ligaments and tendons holding the joint together as your joints gradually lose its alignment and shape. Doctors still don’t know what starts the process, but don’t rule out a genetic component. Your genes make you susceptible to environmental factors like infections from viruses and bacteria that can trigger the disease.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Fatigue, loss of appetite and fever
- Joint stiffness that worsens after inactivity and in the morning hours
- Swollen, tender, and warm joints
- Joint and muscle pain
- Low-grade fever
- Joint deformity, rheumatoid nodules, and limping
You can also experience depression, anemia, frustration, and social withdrawal.
Early rheumatoid arthritis affects smaller joints first. Mostly those joints are attached to your fingers and toes. As this disease progresses, the symptoms spread to your knees, wrists, elbows, ankles, shoulders, and hips. Symptoms can occur in joints on the same side of your body.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect non-joint structures such as eyes, the heart, skin, kidneys, lungs, salivary glands, bone marrow, blood vessels, and nerve tissues. The signs vary in severity. You can enjoy periods of disease inactivity, commonly called flares with periods of relative remission.
The swelling and pain disappear over time and can leave you with joint deformity. If you experience persistent discomfort in the joints, consult a doctor.
Risk factors include being middle-aged, cigarette smoking, and having a family history of arthritis. Women are more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than men. Also, environmental exposures like silica and asbestos increase the risks. Obese people are at a higher risk of developing the condition.
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The goal of the treatment is to reduce your joint inflammation, pain, and maximize your joint function. This helps prevent joint deformity and destruction. Early medical intervention improves outcomes.
Also, aggressive management stops the damage and improves function while preventing work disability. Doctors use optimal RA treatment involving a combination of rest, medicines, joint strengthening exercises, joint protection, and family education.
You get custom treatment depending on the disease activity, your genetic health, types of joints affected, your occupation, and age. RA treatment is most effective when there is close cooperation between the patient, doctor, and family members. The specialists use the treat-test approach, which is far more useful in minimizing the symptoms and higher remission rates. Doctors focus on controlling the inflammation and managing your pain to prevent further joint damage.
Early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is vital to effectively manage your condition since it has no cure. Consult a doctor when you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. There are medications that can help ease the pain and manage the symptoms.