Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder which can have an impact more than just our joints. In few individuals, the condition can also damage various body systems, including eyes, skin, lungs, heart & blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis takes place when our immune system accidentally attacks our own body’s tissues.
Unlike the wear & tear damage caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis has an impact on the lining of our joints, leading to painful swelling which could finally lead to bone erosion & joint deformity.
The inflammation linked to rheumatoid arthritis could damage the other parts of the body too. While the new kinds of medicines have improvised the treatment avenues a lot, however, severe rheumatoid arthritis could still lead to physical disabilities.
Symptoms associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Sign & symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis could include:-
- Warm, tender, swollen joints
- Fatigue, fever & weight loss
- Joint stiffness which is generally worse in mornings & after inactivity
Early rheumatoid arthritis has a tendency to affect our smaller joints initially, particularly joints which attach our fingers to our hands & our toes to our feet.
With the progress of the disease, the symptoms often reach the wrists, ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders and hips. In most of the cases, the symptoms take place in the same joints on both sides of our body.
Around 40% people with rheumatoid arthritis also experience the signs & symptoms which do not involve joints. Rheumatoid arthritis could affect several non-joint structures along with:
- Salivary glands
- Bone marrow
- Nerve tissue
- Blood vessels
Signs & symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis could vary in severity & could even arrive and leave. Duration of increased disease activity known as flares, alternate with the duration of a relative remission – when the swelling & pain disappear or fade. Over time rheumatoid arthritis could lead the joints to deform & shift out of the place.
When to visit a doctor?
We should visit our doctor if we have persistent discomfort & swelling in our joints.