Anyone can develop rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, it is the second most common form of autoimmune arthritis of which, to this day, the causes are still unknown.
An autoimmune disease causes the body to mistakenly attack healthy tissue rather than protect them from foreign bodies.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the autoimmune condition causes the joints to be inflamed. In a normal setting, inflammation usually resolves quickly, however in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation is long-term (chronic).
Who is at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis?
Some bodies of research indicate that one’s lifestyle can be a contributing factor in developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Research shows that smokers, those who consume lots of red meat and coffee-drinkers have a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
Although the condition can start at any age, it most commonly starts between the ages of 30 and 50.
Women are also three times more likely than men to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. If your parents already have the condition, chances are you may inherit the genes that cause rheumatoid arthritis. However, that factor alone is not reason enough to cause it.
It can be difficult to detect and diagnose rheumatoid arthritis as its symptoms are similar to other arthritic diseases.
Although it may vary from one individual to another, most people may either experience a few or no symptoms for a long period of time, while others may experience it for months on end.
The earliest signs of rheumatoid arthritis typically appear in the smallest joints such as the fingers and toes, and later progress to bigger joints.
What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
- Stiffness in the joints that occur early in the morning and last for more than an hour
- Swollen joints
- Tender joint pain when trying to move
- Redness and a feeling of warmth over the affected joint
- Fatigue and a feeling of being sick
- Loss of appetite and loss of weight
- Muscle aches
- The presence of rheumatoid nodules
Should I be worried if I have rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect individuals differently either psychologically or emotionally. Some may find their daily activities are compromised due to the persistent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Some experience limitations to their movements because of the pain they endure from sitting for a certain length of time. Regular physiotherapy sessions can help manage the pain and ease movement. It is a part of the treatment plan to attain a better quality of life.
Should you suspect you’re suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, seek medical advice immediately.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained here with other sources, and review all information with your physician. Please do not disregard professional medical advice or delay treatment because of something you have read here. FMT is not responsible and liable for any damage caused through information obtained here.