April 11, 2008

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects joints of wrists, ankles, knees, elbows, hips, shoulders and feet. Usually, this disease progresses in a symmetrical pattern in which 2-3 different joints are affected at a time. Some prominent rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are stiffness, inflammation, pain and swelling.

Inflammation is one of the most significant rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Tenderness, redness and warmth are the hallmarks of inflammation. The stiffness is another remarkable symptom which is frequently noticed in the morning and it improves in the day. Prolonged morning stiffness is an important clue while diagnosing of this disorder. The area around the damaged joint is puffy and swollen. There may be hard bumps which appear near or on the joints especially near the elbows.

In rheumatoid arthritis, pain in the joints results from various sources. It may be due to swelling or inflammation of the joints as well as surrounding tissues. Excess physical activities or strain on the joints also can lead to pain. The intensity of pain differs person to person. There is a limitation in the mobility of the joint.

There are other general rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as malaise (blah feeling), fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, myalgias (muscle aches) and weakness or loss of energy. The onset of symptoms is very slow; however it may be acute in some people. In some people, general symptoms appear prior to joint symptoms.

If the joint pain or swelling or stiffness lasts for more than 2 weeks, you should seek the medical treatment. Generally, diagnosis is done on the basis of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The doctor determines the type of arthritis with the help of physical examination, symptoms, some laboratory tests and imaging tests like x-rays. After accurate diagnosis of the disease, various treatment options are implemented including medications, some therapies, self-care and surgical options.