Sunday, October 9, 2016
What is Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder that causes chronic inflammation of joints. It tends to begin slowly with minor symptoms that come and go, usually on both sides of the body, and progress over a period of weeks or months. Symptoms of this disease may vary from person to person, and can change from day to day.
Signs and Symptoms
There are many signs and symptoms which could indicate arthritis, with the most common being the following:
- Fatigue - You may feel unusually fatigued before any other symptoms occur. This fatigue is sometimes accompanied by a general feeling of ill health.
- Morning stiffness - This is usually an early sign of arthritis. Different amount of stiffness can indicate different types of arthritis. Stiffness that lasts for a few minutes is usually a symptom of a degenerative form of arthritis ,whilst stiffness that lasts for several hours is generally a symptom of inflammatory arthritis.
- Joint stiffness - A common early sign of arthritis is stiffness in one or more of the smaller joints. This can occur whether you are being overly active or not. Typically, stiffness begins in the joints of the hands and it usually comes on slowly, however it can come on suddenly affecting multiple joints over the course of a couple of days.
- Joint pain - As well as experiencing stiffness, you may also experience joint pain. This can affect both sides of the body but the most common areas to be affected are usually fingers, wrists, knees and ankles.
- Minor joint swelling - Mild inflammation of the joints is a typical symptom that presents early on, which will cause your joints to appear bigger than normal. This swelling can also cause joints to feel warm when you touch them. Swelling flare ups like this can last from a few days to a few weeks.
- Fever - If you are experiencing joint pain and inflammation, a low-grade fever alongside it may be an early indication to arthritis. However, be aware of a high fever as this could more likely be a sign of some other form of illness. Consult your GP if you are worried about a high fever.
- Numbness and tingling - Inflammation of tendons can create pressure on your nerves which may cause numbness, tingling, or a burning feeling in your hands. This is referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Range of motion decreased -Joint inflammation can cause tendons and ligaments to become unstable or deformed. As the arthritis progresses you may find yourself unable to bend or straighten some joints, this is why it is important to engage in regular, gentle exercise.
- Additional early signs - You may experience other symptoms early on which can include general weakness, dry mouth, dry eyes, eye discharge, difficulty sleeping, chest pain, loss of appetite and weight loss.
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