Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints of your body parts like fingers, hands, knees, and feet. It is an autoimmune disease that can affect people of all ages even though myths regarding old age and RA are popular. An auto immune disease is when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues by mistake. It is known as rheumatoid disease because it is a systemic illness. This means that this disease can affect various organs of the body and not just the tissues.
There is no known cure for RA and the treatments available aim at reducing the inflammation in the joints, increase joint function, and prevent any destruction or deformity in the joints. Even though many of the early symptoms of RA are mimicked by other diseases, here are the most important symptoms that are major characteristics of this chronic disease.
Fatigue and fever
Fatigue and fever can occur as symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This may be due to the body’s reaction towards inflammation in the joints, lack of sleep, or anaemia. This may affect the person’s appetite, sexual drive, productivity, mood swings, attentiveness, and overall well being.
Joint pain occurs when RA is active. However, it can also occur when the disease is controlled or is inactive due to the damages it caused while it was active.
Joint swelling and redness
People suffering from RA will have swollen joints which vary in their intensity. For some people or some joints it may not be that evident whereas for some, you can tell that the person is suffering from RA by just looking at the joints. The swelling reduces the range of motion of the joints.
During inflammation, the capillaries of the blood vessels are widened and the skin will turn reddish. For some people the redness in the joints is evident whereas it is subtle in some others.
Joint tenderness and warmth
The joints involved in RA can be tender because of the irritated tissues near to the inflamed joints. This can be very painful causing difficulties in sleeping and insomnia. Joint warmth is often checked by doctors as a symptom for RA.
Reduction in range of motion of the joint
The inflammation causes swelling which restricts the motion of the joint. A person suffering from RA will not be able to move his or her joints the way they use to move them like.