A chronic inflammatory disorder that affects more than just joints is called Rheumatoid Arthritis. The condition can be damaging to many body systems including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
Rheumatoid arthritis test is an Autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks one’s own body’s tissues.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints which causes a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
The inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis can damage other parts of the body as well and may cause physical disabilities.
Though the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, it is generally believed to be caused by a combination the following factors:
- Abnormal immunity
- Environmental factors
Generally, the immune system safeguards the body from disease. But in some people, possible infections, cigarette smoking, and physical or emotional stress, among other causes trigger the immune system to attack the joints and sometimes other organs causing Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Gender, heredity, and genes determine a person’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis largely. Women are about three times more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
Signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis may include:
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Joint stiffness is especially worse in the mornings and after a long period of inactivity
- Fatigue, fever, excessive sleepiness, and loss of appetite
In the beginning rheumatoid arthritis affects the smaller joints, especially the joints that attach the fingers to hands and the toes to the feet.
With the advancement of the disease, symptoms spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. In the majority of patients, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of the body.
About one-third of people who have rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms where joints are not involved. Other areas that can be are affected are:
- Salivary glands
- Nerve tissue
- Bone marrow
- Blood vessels
Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms affect each person differently and in some, the symptoms might come and go.
Intervals of high disease activity, called flares, alternate with periods of remission, where the swelling and pain fade or disappear.
Gradually, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.
One must make an appointment with your doctor if one has lasting discomfort and swelling in the joints which is hindering normal activity.
Timely medical intervention can slow down the progression of the disease considerably.
Dr. Tanveer Bhutani at Eva Hospital has experience in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis and helping people live a pain-free life.