April 11, 2008

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms – Information on Joint Pain & Inflammation

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Rheumatoid arthritis is chronic inflammatory type of arthritis which involves the peripheral joints such as wrists, fingers, knees and toes and ligaments, tendons, surrounding muscles as well as blood vessels. It is one of the autoimmune disorders caused due to abnormal immune response of the body. This disorder is more common in females than in males and affect the people between the age group of 40-60. The major rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are pain, swelling, tenderness of the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects many joints at the same time in the symmetrical pattern. In the primary stage of the disease, smaller joints like the joints in ankles, wrists, hands and feet are affected. With the progress of disease, larger joints like elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, neck and jaw are involved. In the active state of this disease, the symptoms like lack of appetite, fatigue and pains and stiffness of the joints can be experienced. The stiffness of joints and muscles is most commonly observed early in the morning and during the inactive state. During the flares of disease, the joints may become painful, swollen, tender and red due to inflammation of synovium which results in excessive production of synovial fluid. There may be a formation of firm bumps of tissues under the skin on the arm which are known as rheumatoid nodules.

As rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, its inflammation may affect the body parts other than joints. Sometimes the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include inflammation of eyes, lungs or blood vessels and hence also called as an extra-articular disease. An inflammation of glands of mouth and eyes may result in dryness of these areas which is known as Sjogren’s syndrome. Pleuritis (an inflammation of lung lining) give rise to chest pain with coughing or deep breathing. There may be inflammation of lung tissues and development of rheumatoid nodules within the lungs. Pericarditis (inflammation of pericardium) may result in chest pain. The patient with rheumatoid arthritis may become anemic due to reduced number of red blood cells as well as white blood cells.

Some of the additional rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are low-grade fever, anemia due to bone marrow depression, paleness, itching and burning of eyes, deformities in feet and hands, limitation in motion, lung inflammation, painless round nodules under the skin, redness of skin and swollen glands. There may be destruction of joints within 1-2 years after the onset of this disease. Hence, appropriate diagnosis and accurate treatment for this disease is very essential.