There are more than 100 different types of arthritis that affect millions of people in North America. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most debilitating forms of arthritis because it causes the joints in the body to constantly ache and throb. Eventually, rheumatoid arthritis leads to a deforming of these joints. Many patients find it difficult to perform even the simplest tasks such as walking and holding a glass of water. But just what are the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be an inflammatory condition. The cause of this disease is not yet known, but there are some studies that indicate the immune system of the body attacks the tissues that surround the joints. More women than men suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. The disease usually hits those people in the age range of 20 to 50. However, it can also affect very young children in the form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are slightly different than rheumatoid arthritis in adults.
The basic symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may come and disappear over a period of time. Perhaps the most common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is a swelling and pain in the joints, particularly in the smaller joints such as the feet and hands. After waking many patients experience an aching in the joints. This is a common arthritis, rheumatoid symptom and can be very debilitating.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes a loss of mobility in the joints that are affected, such as the knees. This can lead to a loss of strength in the muscles that surround the affected joints. When a patient becomes tired there can be a flare up of swelling which can cause problems with everyday activities. Another rheumatoid arthritis symptom is a fever. Many patients will experience a low-grade fever that comes and goes from day to day.
After several years rheumatoid arthritis can cause a deformity of the joints. This can inhibit a patient from living a normal life. In severe cases the patient may need to undergo surgery.
Perhaps one of the most serious rheumatoid arthritis symptoms is a general feeling of not being well. Patients can become emotionally withdrawn when they live in constant pain and fear of this pain. This is why it is important that rheumatoid arthritis patients work closely with their doctor to find a treatment plan that works for them.
Because rheumatoid arthritis comes and goes, it is easy for a patient to think that they are well again and that they can stop their treatment plan. This can be deceiving because as soon as the rheumatoid arthritis flares up again the treatment must start all over again. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis should be taken seriously no matter where the patient is in their disease and what level of pain they are experiencing.