No one knows what causes rheumatoid arthritis but significant advances have been made with respect to the identification, treatment and control of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Early identification and quick aggressive treatment are your best defense when dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. Many people today live long, happy and productive lives despite rheumatoid arthritis.
Early Identification of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a very serious disease and early detection and treatment is critical. If you begin to experience any of the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, keep track of your symptoms and contact your doctor immediately. It is best to keep a detailed journal of your symptoms that you can discuss with your doctor. There are over 100 types of arthritis and proper diagnosis is needed to determine the proper treatment.
Common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:
- low fever;
- multiple sore or achy joints; multiple swollen or inflamed joints - rheumatoid arthritis impacts the soft tissue surrounding your joints. The tissue surrounding the joints may be red, swollen and tender when touched;
- joint stiffness or reduced mobility - this is typically noticed first thing in the morning and/or after periods of long rest.
Many of the early common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are mistaken for flu symptoms. Even if you suspect that you have the flu, it is still a good idea to track your symptoms and see your doctor. If needed, your doctor will send you to an arthritis specialist called a rheumatologist. If your doctor suspects rheumatoid arthritis (or other forms of arthritis), you need a specialist.
In addition to knowing what the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are, you also need to know that there are no hard and fast rules.
Here are some facts about "common" rheumatoid arthritis symptoms:
Disease Development - the disease normally begins slowly however some people may develop rheumatoid arthritis rather suddenly. Rheumatoid arthritis affects every person differently.
Severity and Frequency - some people experience severe joint inflammation and pain while others have milder symptoms. The frequency of common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can also vary significantly from person to person. You may feel symptoms for several days at a time, then they can stop for weeks or months at a time. It is very rare for people to experience rheumatoid arthritis symptoms continuously. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms tend to come and go for the rest of your life.
Multiple Joints - rheumatoid arthritis tends to impact at least 3 joints or body parts at a time. It is also common for symptoms to begin on both sides of the body at the same time. This differs from degenerative arthritis, which tends to start in one joint on one side of the body. Degenerative arthritis tends to be more localized.
Joint Inflammation - it is very important to treat and control joint inflammation because it causes damage to your joints. If you merely treat the pain, the inflammation will continue and will cause additional permanent damage. There are many medications and other treatments available that can reduce inflammation. If your doctor is not treating your inflammation, find another doctor.
Although there are common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis there are also many differences that exist. The above listing is only a partial listing of what you need to know about common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis impacts every person differently. No two people experience the disease in exactly the same way. These differences make it difficult to identify the early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
The best way to prepare yourself for rheumatoid arthritis is to learn as much as possible. Learn about the risk factors and common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Keep a detailed diary of all your potential symptoms and review them with your doctor. Your diary should include: location, severity, frequency and nature of your symptoms. Be sure to include the date and time and what you were doing when you felt the symptoms. What activities made your symptoms worse, what lessened your symptoms, etc. Keep track of every factor that may be important.
Since there are over 100 different types of arthritis, early detection relies heavily on information supplied by the patient. Rheumatoid arthritis can not always be detected using lab tests during its early stages. As soon as your doctor suspects rheumatoid arthritis, he should send you to a specialist. When your diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor should help you to design an effective treatment plan.
Most rheumatoid arthritis treatment plans include medication, alternative therapies, exercise, diet modification, etc. Together these treatments will work to control inflammation, reduce pain, increase mobility and slow or prevent additional damage. Rheumatoid arthritis can be effectively controlled and proper treatment can minimize the risk of disability. New treatment options are developing for rheumatoid arthritis because of on-going medical research. A rheumatologist is the best person to treat your disease and should know the latest and greatest treatment techniques. Early detection and treatment are highly recommended.