Rheumatoid Arthritis: What to Look For

Rheumatoid Arthritis: What to Look For

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of autoimmune disorder that causes persistent inflammation of various joints. In some people, the condition can even affect their eyes, lungs, heart, skin, and blood vessels. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissue, such as the lining of your joints, which can cause painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and deformity of the joints. Doctors are unsure of the exact cause of the condition, but they think genetics is likely. While your genes may not cause the disease, they can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that could trigger the disease. If you think you may have developed rheumatoid arthritis, look for these signs.

Early rheumatoid arthritis generally tends to affect your smaller joints first, particularly those in your fingers and toes. You could experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness in the joints that is usually worse in the morning or after inactivity
  • Symmetrical pain experienced on both sides of the body
  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Pain and soreness in small joints

Some serious early warning signs can also include ongoing numbness and tingling in the hands, swollen forefoot often preventing women from wearing high heels, locked joints that are unable to bend, sports injuries that don’t heal properly, pain in the hell and bottom tissue of the foot, fatigue, depression, and an overall feeling of ill health lasting for weeks or months.

After some time, the disease will progress to other joints, such as wrists, knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders, and hips. In many cases, symptoms will occur in the same joints on both sides of the body. People could also experience chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, and a low-grade fever.

In around 40% of cases, people may also experience signs and symptoms that don’t involve the joints. For example, the condition could cause eye dryness and pain in addition to sensitivity to light and impaired vision. It can also cause mouth dryness, gum infections, lung inflammation, blood vessel inflammation, and anemia. However, these symptoms can often be mistaken for other problems, such as Sjogren’s syndrome.

Arthritis symptoms can come and go. Flare-ups of the condition can last varying amounts of time for different people before going dormant. There is also no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, although there are various methods used to treat it. Physicians use medications, surgery, and daily routine and lifestyle changes to reduce the chance of triggering a flare-up and sustaining damage to the joints.

Keeping physically active and eating healthy can help treat RA symptoms in addition to the right combination of medicines. An excellent Aberdeen physical therapist can help you create a safe, effective daily workout routine that will keep your joints flexible without triggering arthritis pain. Our physicians here at ProFysio Physical Therapy can help you manage your pain, so you can live your life without limited mobility. ProFysio is a premier provider of physical rehabilitation in New Jersey. We are also the only fellowship trained therapists in Monmouth County. Our team provides each patient with individualized, compassionate care tailored to meet their specific needs and goals. Let us see what we can do for you. Call us at (732) 333-6360 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation with us today.

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