Unlike other types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease. The immune system of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis turns on its own, specifically attacking the joints and other surrounding tissue. In a way, rheumatoid arthritis could be likened to allergies but with starkly different symptoms. While the common symptoms of allergies include runny nose, itchiness of the eyes, and skin rash, the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis include inflammation in the lining of the joints and pain in the affected areas.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that affects more than two million people, usually between the ages of 20 and 25. Additionally, the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis occur in all races and ethnic groups, regardless of age or sex, although it appears that the disease affects two to three times as many women as men.
Since the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis differ from patient to patient, there is no single method of making accurate diagnosis. Moreover, the symptoms tend to develop overtime, making it even more difficult to identify the disease early on. To determine the existence of the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis, health care professionals apply a variety of methods from blood testing to X-rays. Aside from identifying the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis, these methods are also used to rule out other conditions that may display more or less the same symptoms.
The other factors that health care practitioners often take into account when diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Medical history
- Physical examinations
- Laboratory tests
After Diagnosis, Now what?
After a patient is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the next step is to learn as much as you can about the disease in order to understand it. First up, you need to understand that early detection of the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis s often the key to helping you live longer despite the disease. Remember that there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and that as the person ages, the symptoms may grow worse. However, if you identify these common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis early on and undergo aggressive treatment, you increase your chance of living a long and healthy normal life.
Dealing with the Pain
One of the most common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain. Usually this is accompanied by some degree of depression, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness. Most patients who suffer joint pain also suffer morning stiffness in and around the joints. Sometimes the pain becomes too much to bear that patients refuse to move as motion will only serve to aggravate the pain.
However, recent studies show that exercise can actually alleviate some of the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis. Constant motion balanced with a good diet and plenty of rest will ease the pain that comes with this debilitating disease and help you live a better life.
Be advised that you should consult with your doctor first before attempting any strenuous exercise routines, as there are some types of exercises that arthritic patients should not do.