Rheumatoid arthritis only affects a small percentage of the population but its symptoms can really disrupt your life. Since the disease has no cure, it’s important to know if you could be at risk and watch out for the early signs.
By treating rheumatoid arthritis early, it’s possible to prevent permanent health issues and malformations in your skeletal structure.
What Exactly Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. The result of this autoimmune disease is painful inflammation throughout the body.
The disease can affect any part of the body but persons are most likely to experience joint pain in their wrists, hands, and knees. In a few cases, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the lungs, heart, and eyes.
When a joint is affected by rheumatoid arthritis, the lining becomes significantly inflamed. If left untreated, persons will experience significant chronic pain as well as deformity in the joints and issues with maintaining their balance.
Typical Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The general symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Aches and pains in the joints
- Joint stiffness
- Tenderness and swelling in the joints
- Equal pain on both sides of the body
- Weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
It’s important to note that the symptoms may not remain the same all the time. Persons with rheumatoid arthritis usually experience a cycle of flares and remission. During the flares, the pain and stiffness can be debilitating while remission brings some relief.
Possible Risk Factors
According to the research that has been conducted so far, your risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis can be affected by genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. These are a few of the areas you need to know about.