Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating disease that can cause joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. While there are many obvious symptoms of RA, there are also some subtle ones that people often ignore. Let’s discuss three of the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. See your doctor for a diagnosis if you experience any of these.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
Rheumatoid arthritis, often known as RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory condition in which your immune system unintentionally assaults healthy cells in your body, leading to inflammation (painful swelling) in the areas of your body affected. RA primarily targets joints, typically a number of joints at once. RA frequently impacts hand, wrist, and knee joints. Joint tissue is harmed in an RA-affected joint because of the inflammation of the joint lining. Long-lasting or persistent pain, unsteadiness (loss of balance), and deformity can all result from this tissue damage (misshapenness). In addition to these tissues, RA can harm other organs like the heart, lungs, eyes, and other tissues all over the body. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Three Symptoms of RA
Those affected by rheumatoid arthritis are affected differently. Some persons experience joint problems for a long period of time. Others experience a quick progression of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Many persons experience flares of symptoms followed by periods with no symptoms (remission).
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms mainly include:
- Multiple joints may experience pain, edema, stiffness, and soreness
- Fatigue (severe exhaustion) (extreme tiredness)
Other symptoms include stiffness, particularly in the morning or after spending a lot of time sitting down. On both sides of your body, the same joints are painful and stiff, accompanied by weakness.
Living with RA
Your RA symptoms could worsen at times while feeling better at other times. With the use of medication and other treatments, your doctor will work with you to reduce your symptoms. You have the ability daily to assist yourself in managing your RA. Here are a few techniques.
- Take Care of Yourself: A significant component of treating RA is maintaining good health and keeping up with the condition. Use your medication as recommended. Try to take advantage of every dosage. Inform your physician of any adverse effects. If you have any questions, ask them or your pharmacist. Keep up with your doctor visits, even when your pain and stiffness are less of an issue. Visit your physician two to four times a year.
- Exercise: You may not want to move about if you have joint discomfort and stiffness. But you should make an effort to remain as active as you can. It lessens your symptoms and guards against long-term issues.
- Diet: Despite the numerous studies on nutrition and rheumatoid arthritis, there is no concrete evidence that a particular diet is beneficial. But eating a balanced, healthy diet is always a good idea. It reduces inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines reduce the production of cytokines, which cause inflammation to rise. According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids may reduce joint discomfort and morning stiffness.
- Keep Your Weight in Check: Overweight or obese conditions are seen in about two-thirds of RA patients. A better chance of remission and fewer problems can result from losing weight. Cytokines are released by fat cells. More cytokines result from more fat cells, and more cytokines result from more inflammation. This worsens RA symptoms and further ruins your body.
- Consult an Occupational or Physical Therapist: To help safeguard your joints, therapists can demonstrate how to move your body safely while performing commonplace chores like lifting a box. They can also show you safe activities you can perform at home. You want to get stronger but don’t want to push yourself too far and set off a flare-up.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects everybody differently. It is essential to follow your doctor’s advice, be mindful of your lifestyle habits, and pay attention to other signs that may arise in order to keep symptoms at bay. With the proper care and management, you can maintain an active lifestyle while living with RA.
“Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 July 2020, www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html#:~:text=Rheumatoid%20arthritis%2C%20or%20RA%2C%20is,usually%20many%20joints%20at%20once.
“Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Faqs.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4924-rheumatoid-arthritis.
“12 Tips for Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Diet, Exercise, and Stress.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/tips-living-with-ra.