Rheumatoid arthritis can be a painful disease that can cause chronic joint inflammation. Arthritis is a disease that is often associated with old age however; rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age. It is a chronic autoimmune disease and is prone to ups and downs in levels of pain and inflammation. Typically, multiple joints are affected at once in a symmetrical pattern. Rheumatoid arthritis also can cause the tissue around joints to become inflamed. Particularly severe instances of rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to become deformed or damaged. It is important to get a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis is you think you may be suffering from this chronic disease. In addition, it is important to encourage loved ones or friends who may have it to get a diagnosis so that it can be addressed by medical professionals.
Because rheumatoid arthritis is chronic and has periods of inflammation and also periods of remission, it can be difficult to keep track of symptoms over a period of time. Some symptoms of the disease are fatigue, energy loss, decrease or loss of appetite, low-grade fevers, joint aches and muscle aches. Stiffness is often common after you are inactive for a long period of time. Red, swollen joints also are symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, as are pain and tenderness of the joints. Many areas of the body can be affected so it is something that can affect some people in their hands while others are only affected in their knee joints. It is important to get a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis even if you have minor symptoms. The disease can develop into serious health conditions over time so it is important to get a diagnosis if you suspect you have it.
Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis is not a simple matter of doing one test. Accurate diagnosis requires and evaluation of joints affected, along with other evidence associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Other factors include blood rheumatoid factor, citrulline antibody and rheumatoid nodules. Doctors will often do X-rays to evaluate the presence of rheumatoid arthritis. Keeping an accurate record of your symptoms over a period of time will assist your doctor in making a diagnosis since it is important to look at your past inflammations and other symptoms. Blood tests are a common part of the diagnosis process to look at factors that contribute to the disease. A specialized doctor called a rheumatologist may be referred to look at your case to conclude the diagnosis.
Joint inflammation affects both sides of your body symmetrically. Considering the areas of joint inflammation is a key indicator of rheumatoid arthritis versus joint inflammation that might be isolated and caused by other health considerations. In general, wrists, knees, feet and joints in the hands are all very common with rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Rheumatoid nodules often form in the fingers and elbows which is another common indicator that can lead your doctor to a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. Communicating with your doctor is the key to making an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan so that you can remain as healthy as possible.