Learn about the symptoms and risks of rheumatoid arthritis.
Article provided by guest author. See below for more information.
You wake up one morning and feel like you have the flu –including the aches, fever and weariness.
Next, you soon start to notice that you also have stiffness in your ankles and wrists as well as pains and redness in other joints.
From these symptoms, you may have gathered that you could have the beginning stages of rheumatoid arthritis.
Receiving early diagnosis and treatment will help avoid any debilitating future problems.
An overview of what rheumatoid arthritis is, what causes it and what to do if you believe you have it will help in making the decisions on your next steps.
Overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease and is classified as an autoimmune disorder.
The body’s immune system malfunctions as it mistakes joints, organs and tissue as invaders of your body thus attacking and causing damage.
Inflammation within the joints then occurs throughout the body.
Currently, there is no sure answer on why the immune system reacts the way it does. There are a number of believed factors which trigger this particular destruction.
Risk Factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis
What causes this disease? This is a common question among those who have become affected by it.
If you fall into any of the following categories, your risks for contracting rheumatoid arthritis are heightened:
- Receiver of blood transfusions
- Between the ages of 25 to 45
- If you are female (women are 3 times more likely to develop rheumatoid)
- White and Native American ethnic groups carry a higher likelihood than other groups
- Obesity and cigarettes (like many other health issues) carry high risk factors
Along with the beginning indicators, there are some telling symptoms that point towards the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Usually found within the wrists, ankles, knees, feet and fingers, the symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis include but are not limited to the following symptoms:
- Pain and stiffness in the morning
- Symmetric pain and stiffness (both knees, both feet, etc.)
- Joints become deformed or misshaped
- Joints are red and swollen while feeling warm to the touch
- Inflammation of blood vessels and corresponding organs
Though you may suspect that you have rheumatoid arthritis, the only way to know for sure is by a doctor’s diagnosis.
Once you visit the doctor and tell them of your symptoms there will be a series of blood and imaging tests.
Only after these tests can your doctor truly know and diagnose your illness as rheumatoid arthritis; treatment will begin immediately following a diagnosis.