Rheumatoid arthritis is a possible cause why one experiences mild aches and pains in the joints. Remember that even mild joint pain and rigidity necessitates proper assessment. If an individual is suspected with rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent irreversible damage and disability of the joints. Based on studies conducted, prompt treatment is vital.
Early phase of rheumatoid arthritis
If an individual has rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system incorrectly attacks the lining of the joints which results to joint inflammation and pain. The early indications might include the following:
- Flu-like symptoms – symptoms such as fever, fatigue and appetite loss can last for weeks or months instead of recovering in a week
- Joint pain and stiffness – initially, joint stiffness occurs in the morning and there is pain during activities. These early indications typically settle if the joint can rest and recover. There are also periods where there are no symptoms. As the condition progresses, joint pain and stiffness in the morning worsens and lasts for a longer time. The joints might even appear swollen and there is difficulty sleeping due to the discomfort.
The progression of rheumatoid arthritis varies for everyone. In some individuals, the condition is mild. Some have phases with more symptoms which is called “flares” and followed by periods with only a few. In some cases, the condition can be severe with persistent symptoms that worsen progressively.
What are the commonly affected joints?
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect several joints instead of one. It is also symmetrical in which it affects joints on both sides of the body. This symmetry is linked to the nervous system but the precise reason is not clear.
In the early phases of the disease, the small joints are affected such as in the feet, hands, wrists and ankles. Nevertheless, it can also affect the bigger joints such as the hips.