Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system (meant to protect you from infections and illnesses) to attack joints. This results in inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. RA is just one of many forms of arthritis but is one of the most common ones. People with RA experience flare ups in which symptoms appear suddenly.
There is no cure for RA, but you can manage the condition and reduce flare ups. You need to properly manage RA for your joints to remain as healthy as possible. If RA flare ups happen too often, it can lead to joint, cartilage, and bone deterioration. This can lead to more intense and complicated treatments, such as joint surgery.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
RA doesn’t immediately become apparent. In fact, a lot of people with RA do not realize they have the condition until much later. Here are the first signs and symptoms of RA. If you experience more than a few of these, you may have RA. It is best to consult with a doctor to discuss your symptoms, so you can get an early diagnosis and a treatment plan in place.
- Fatigue – A commonly ignored sign of RA is fatigue. Fatigue is the body’s reaction when inflammation is present. If you get enough sleep but are experiencing extreme tiredness and lack of energy, it could be a sign of RA.
- Joint Stiffness – An early sign of RA is having joint stiffness. This may start out in one or two joints (such as a couple of fingers or the wrist). However, it will likely expand to other parts of the body. If you notice stiffness in your joints, especially in the morning, it could be a sign of RA.
- Joint Pain – Joint pain is possibly the most common sign of RA. People with RA experience joint pain in the hands and feet most often.
- Joint Swelling – Swelling in the joints (typically the hands and feet) is a common sign of RA. In the beginning stages of RA, you may experience very little swelling but will notice it increase over months and years of having the condition.
- Warm Sensation at Joints – When there is inflammation in a joint, you may experience warmth when you touch it. This symptom is often combined with swelling.
- Reduced Range of Motion – It is common to experience less flexibility and motion in joints when you have RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment in Washington and New Mexico
While RA can have a significant effect on your quality of life, it is a manageable disease. Most people with RA can live full, enjoyable, and fulfilling lives with the guidance of their doctors.
A key element of managing RA effectively is getting diagnosed and treated early. If you experience any of the early signs and symptoms of RA, talk with your doctor about the possibility of you having the condition.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, reach out to Lynx Healthcare. We have specialists that can determine if you are showing early signs of RA. Our professionals can formulate treatments to manage your RA in an effective way. Call us at (509) 591-0070 to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.