Rheumatoid arthritis is a grave autoimmune disease that typically occurs as we age. It is a long-standing disease – it may not always be in the active state. Its symptoms are seen on and off and vary for each individual. If the disease is not diagnosed on time and treated, the patient has a high chance of developing painful crippling that may result in deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis first attacks the joints. Apart from joints, it can also cause devastating effects on other organs and reduce the patient’s life expectancy. To avoid the mesh of hazards to your body later, start the treatment early by diagnosing it early. How? Check for the following most common symptoms.
1. Swollen Finger-Knuckle Joints
Swelling of one or more finger-knuckle joints is one of the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The swelling is prominent in the large or middle knuckles of your hands. Don’t get confused with the knuckles next to your fingernails at the top of your fingers. Usually, joints on both hands get affected. The swelling will not feel ‘bony’, it will feel slightly soft and tender. Rheumatoid arthritis also tends to bring about some redness over the joints.
2. Nodules on Elbows
Nodules are firm lumps which grow beneath the skin close to the affected joints. They regularly come up at the back side of the elbows. In rare cases, people get the nodules in the eyes too. These surface in patients with advanced rheumatoid arthritis. At times, they show up earlier too. So, don’t neglect them thinking they are some form of eye disease.
3. Morning Stiffnes
An important characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis is stiffness in the joints, especially in the morning. Making a fist completely also becomes a difficulty. The top of the wrists may seem unusually tender. When it comes to your elbows, straightening them completely might become a big task. The long inactive periods such as sleeping get these pains even in those suffering from Osteoporosis. However, with rheumatoid arthritis the difficulty continues for a bigger chunk of the day as against Osteoporosis which subsides in about an hour.
4. Locked Joints
Locking of the joints is again a very common feature when you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. This is seen predominantly in the elbows and knee bones. This is bound to occur as the tendons surrounding the joint get swollen. This makes the joint difficult to bend. It can also lead to cysts at the back of the knee that puff out and thus inhibit motion. The symptom can be wrongly taken for a knee joint injury. Don’t assume, just head to the orthopaedist for timely treatment.
5. Pair of Achy Joints
People often wonder if their joint ache is because of some amount of over exertion or Osteoporosis. But achiness of joints is also a significant pointer to rheumatoid arthritis. The achiness is likely to get wrongly diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. Again, fatigue is another indicator of rheumatoid arthritis. But something that distinguishes this ache is that it usually lasts more than a week and it can be symmetrical. That means both feet or hands, knees or ankles get affected during the same time.
Closely watch for these symptoms and if you see that you have been suffering for six weeks now, just take an appointment with your doctor on the course of treatment that you need to undergo. Delaying more could just prove injurious to your bones and to your overall health.