Surefire Ways To Identify Arthritis Causes and Symptoms

of 1

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that commonly has prominent adverse effects on the extremities. This manifests as pain and damage to joints. The disease can, though, cause damage to major organs and lead to systemic disease. However, serious injury to joints and other healthy tissues can be avoided if the disease is detected early and an aggressive course of treatment is implemented.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The root, underlying causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not yet fully understood, though there seems to be a genetic component. Doctors and scientists have, however, identified the mechanism by which the disease works and progresses. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder; it arises from a critical dysfunction of the immune system. Normally, the immune system attacks invasive bodies like viruses and bacteria, eliminating the threat that they pose to your health. In rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, though, the immune system attacks and damages healthy tissue, including the lining of a joint (synovium), the cartilage that cushions bones and the associated ligaments.

General Symptoms

Fatigue is a common symptom at all stages of rheumatoid arthritis, especially when the disease is active. This can affect a sufferer’s emotional state and general attitude, which can in turn have affects on their relationships at home and in the workplace. It can also lead to a lack of appetite and loss of weight. Feelings of fatigue can be caused by poor sleep due to pain or side effects of medications. Fatigue can also be caused by anemia, which occurs when chronic inflammation causes bone marrow to release fewer than the required number of red blood cells into circulation. This inhibits the circulatory system’s ability to transport oxygen throughout the body, leading to a lack of energy and listlessness. Fever is uncommon with rheumatoid arthritis, but can occur when the disease is active and is usually mild. However, because some treatments for rheumatoid arthritis reduce the immune system’s ability to eliminate foreign bodies, fever in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers could also be the result of infection, which requires immediate medical attention.

Joint Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis’s effects are often symmetric: the same joints on each side of the body are affected. Most sufferers are afflicted with polyarthritis, wherein four or more joints are afflicted by the disease. These joints are most commonly in hands and feet, but inflammation can also occur in the ankles, elbows, hips, knees and shoulders. In some cases, only a few joints are involved (oligoarthritis); in rarer instances, only one joint is affected (monoarthritis). This is most common in children afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis. Pain is one of the foremost symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is initially caused by inflammation during periods when the disease is active. The damage to cartilage, bone and ligaments can also cause joints to ache when the disease is inactive.  Tenderness can also occur when joint lining (synovium) is inflamed. This irritates nerves in the joint capsule, and when it is compressed (as when touched), results in immediate pain. Inflammation of the synovium and excess fluid in the joints may also cause swelling, which can vary in intensity from barely noticeable to extremely prominent. Swelling causes a loss in range of motion, and is often associated with weakness in the affected areas. Long-term affliction by rheumatoid arthritis can cause permanent loss of range of motion, not just during instances of swelling. Redness may occur in skin over joints during inflammation. Active rheumatoid arthritis causes capillaries adjacent to the joint to dilate. This does not occur in all instances of active rheumatoid arthritis. Warmth is another sign of inflammation. It isn’t necessarily accompanied by swelling or redness, but does indicate that the disease is active. Stiffness typically occurs in inflamed joints after extended periods of inactivity, such as in the morning just after waking up or at the end of the work day when you’ve been sitting for hours on end. The duration of morning stiffness is an indicator of active joint inflammation’s severity. Decreased duration is a sign of the effectiveness of treatment and a reduction in the disease’s activity. Deformity is a serious indicator of rheumatoid arthritis, and it occurs from damage to cartilage and bone and the loosening of tendons. It can be prevented by early detection and treatment of the disease. Unchecked, however, it can lead to severe consequences, like loss of strength and function in joints. Limping can occur when rheumatoid arthritis affects the hips, knees, ankles, and joints in the feet. It can be caused by pain, loss of range of motion, swelling or any combination thereof. In children, a painless limp may be an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Swelling, tenderness, and pain can limit or entirely obstruct the normal function of joints. In advanced cases, damage to cartilage and bone can have the same affect. In addition to limping (when it occurs in the legs), decreased joint function leads to loss of strength, coordination and manual dexterity. The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis should not be ignored, as they can lead to serious repercussions on an individual’s health and everyday life. Luckily, the treat-to-target method offers greater hope than traditional clinical care for mitigating the disease’s activity and effects.