Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissue. It typically affects the hands, feet, wrists, and knees, and can cause the affected joints to become stiff, painful, and swollen. While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or slow the progression of the disease. This article lists the possible early signs of rheumatoid arthritis for better disease management.
What Are The Early Signs?
- The early signs of rheumatoid arthritis may include joint stiffness, especially in the morning or after a period of inactivity. This stiffness can make it difficult to move the affected joints and may cause a feeling of discomfort or pain.
- Swelling and tenderness in the joints are also common early signs of rheumatoid arthritis. The affected joints may feel warm to the touch, and some people may notice a reddish or purplish rash on the skin around the joint.
- In addition to joint symptoms, some people with rheumatoid arthritis may experience fatigue, low-grade fever, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can be caused by the inflammation and tissue damage associated with the disease and can make it difficult to perform everyday activities.
- Some people may also experience dryness in the mouth, eyes, and nose, as well as a loss of energy and a feeling of weakness.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to develop gradually and can vary in severity from person to person. In the early stages of the disease, the symptoms may come and go, and may only affect a few joints. Over time, however, the symptoms may become more persistent and may spread to other joints, causing more widespread discomfort and pain.
Prevention And Treatment
There is no known way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the condition. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Getting regular exercise
- Managing stress
- Avoid any activities that put excessive stress on your joints, such as heavy lifting or repetitive motions.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis typically involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biological agents can help reduce inflammation and slow the progression of the disease.
If you think you may be at risk for rheumatoid arthritis, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your concerns and get regular check-ups to monitor your joint health. Early diagnosis and treatment are important because they can help prevent or slow the progression of the disease and avoid complications.