Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and damage throughout your body. RA affects joints on both sides. It means that if RA affects one of your arms or legs, you will feel the same effects on the other side as well. This is one way of distinguishing RA from other conditions.
An early treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis works best and can show long-term results. RA is a progressive, long-term, and disabling disease. This disease affects legs feet and hands first, but it can occur in any joint of the body. When your immune system does not work properly, it results in RA. Treatments of RA can stop swelling and pain in the joints and also prevent joint damage.
The Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network provides an estimate that up to 1 percent of the world’s population and over 1.3 million people in America suffer from RA. It is the most disabling type of arthritis. RA is a chronic disease and it causes joint stiffness, swelling, pain and decreased movement of the joints. It can also affect your eyes, lungs, and skin, but most commonly, it affects small joints in the hands. The joint stiffness in the morning is hurtful and can stay for two hours or even the whole day. Stiffness is not a common condition. If you feel stiffness in the morning, you might have this condition. You can get rid of the stiffness with the movement of the joints.
Signs and symptoms of RA may also include:
- Low appetite and weight loss
- Fevers and weakness
- Energy loss and unsteadiness in walking
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Rheumatoid nodules (firm lumps) grow beneath the skin in places such as the elbow and hands
- Function and mobility loss
Causes of immune system malfunction are unknown. Some people have genetic factors that cause RA. There is a theory that bacteria or a virus causes this condition to people who have this genetic feature. In RA, antibodies, which are part of the immune system, attack the synovium, causing pain and inflammation. Synovium is the smooth lining of a joint. Inflammation causes thickness to the synovium. If not taken seriously, it can invade and destroy cartilage. RA also causes tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together to become weak and stretchy. The joint loses its shape, which can cause severe damage.
Types of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is of different types. If you know the type you have, it will be helpful in treatments. You can find details about the different types of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
1. Seropositive RA
This is the most common type of RA. In this condition, your blood has antibodies that attack your own body. These antibodies inflame your joints. These antibodies are anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides, or anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs). To see if you have anti-CCPs in your body, the doctor does blood tests. Having these antibodies does not mean you have RA. The doctor will confirm once he checks the symptoms.
Symptoms of Seropositive RA:
Seropositive symptoms include:
- Stiffness of joints
- Pain in joints
- Inflammation of the body other than joints
- Body stiffness in the morning for about 30 minutes or more
2. Seronegative RA
In this condition, you either may not have any anti-CCPs in your blood or you don’t have much of them. If your RF blood test is negative, but you still have RA, you may have seronegative RA. Once you develop antibodies, your diagnosis will change to seropositive RA. Symptoms of seronegative RA and seropositive RA are the same.
3. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
This type of RA affects children aged 17 years and younger. JIA is most common in girls. In some situations, it is difficult to control.
Symptoms of Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis symptoms are as follows:
- Joints get warm
- Body feels tiring
- On and off fever
- A limp without injury
- Swelling pain, and stiffness in joints
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis at its earliest can help you in many ways. If you find any of the above symptoms, consult an expert. If you need a Pain Management Specialist, call us at 646-862-5555 and book an appointment with our Pain Management Doctor. Dr. Mathew Grimm is an expert in treating all kinds of pain.