Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition caused by an autoimmune disorder that affects your joints. In some people, the condition may even affect more than just the joints, including eyes, lungs, skin, and even heart. In the early stages, the patients of rheumatoid arthritis may not spot visible symptoms, but they experience mild tenderness or pain. Your doctor may suggest some blood tests and imaging tests, to diagnose this condition.
Below we have discussed more advanced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), often spotted in the later stages. Let’s have a look at them-
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that does not show adequate symptoms in the early stages; however, your healthcare professional might point out a few symptoms during regular checkups. Below, we have mentioned the potential symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:
- Regular joint pain and tenderness
- Swelling or stiffness lasts for 6 weeks and sometimes even longer.
- Morning uneasiness which stays for more than 30 minutes
- Inactive throughout the day
- Fatigue and weakness
- Chronic fever
- Unwanted weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Rheumatoid arthritis often affects the small and sensitive joints in the early stage, particularly the joints subjected to hands, feet, fingers, and toes. As the condition worsens up, joints that attach knees, elbows, and ankles experience tenderness. Apart from the joints, the areas which initially gets affected are:
- Salivary glands
- Bone marrow
- Nerve tissue
- Blood vessels
Over time, the conditions progress and turn into life-threatening diseases.
How to manage rheumatoid arthritis
There is no permanent cure for rheumatoid arthritis but medications can help in managing the condition well. To prevent the long-term consequences, it is important to diagnose and treat rheumatoid arthritis for the time being. The type of treatment your doctor will choose is heavily determined by several factors such as age, medical history, the severity of the condition, and so on. However, non-pharmacological therapies as suggested by your doctor can help along with the medications-
- Proper rest
The first and foremost step towards healing the inflamed joints is adequate rest; when the joints are inflamed, the chances of injuries multiply; it is best advised to take proper rest during this condition and avoid strenuous activities.
- Regular exercise
Another important point is doing regular exercises. People with rheumatoid arthritis often become inactive and lose their efficiency in moving, which leads to contractions. Therefore, it is important to indulge in exercises that increase insurance and restores joint movement, such as walking, cycling, and swimming.
- Hot and cold treatments
Hot and cold treatments such as heating pads, ice massage, or warm baths help to provide relief to inflamed joints and relax the tired muscles. Coldwater bags treat swollen joints as they numb the area and reduce inflammation.
- Stress reduction therapy
One of the best ways is to stop focusing on pain by involving in the stress-reduction process. This includes deep breathing, relaxing your mind, meditation and so on. Regular massage is also helpful in treating pain and swollen joints.
- Nutrition and dietary therapy
What you take inside shows adequate results on the outside. People with rheumatoid arthritis are open to more advanced diseases; therefore, it is important to manage the dietary habits right from the beginning to avoid repercussions. Plan a well-balanced diet that involves green-leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and a healthy source of vitamins and minerals. Cut off junk from your diet completely.
Apart from the non-pharmacological therapies, your healthcare professional will suggest certain medications which are very important to manage this condition. Regular follow-ups with a doctor are important in this case. Do not ignore the condition, if left untreated rheumatoid arthritis can lead to deformities in joints and restrict joint movements. Connecting with communities and interacting with other people living with rheumatoid arthritis can be very helpful in understanding and managing the condition.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.