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Persistent Stiffness in Joints - Can it be a Sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dr. Jayini P Ram Mohen 90% (118 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, Fellow In Joint Replacement , Fellow In Arthroscopy
Orthopedist,  •  16 years experience
Persistent Stiffness in Joints - Can it be a Sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune chronic disorder that might cause abnormal swelling in the joints when the joint tissues are attacked by the human immune system. The more frequently used body joints, such as the knees, fingers, shoulders, wrists, elbows and hips commonly get affected by the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis can also occur in the ligaments or tendons and might affect areas such as the kidney, bone marrow, eyes, lungs, and heart.

If rheumatoid arthritis is not diagnosed on time, it might lead to future complications, such as blood cancer in the lymph regions, osteoporosis (a medical condition resulting in the weakness of the bones), infections, stiffening of the arteries and dry mouth.

What exactly causes the disease is not known, but a significant damage to the immune system might cause the inflammation of the joints, resulting in this condition. Obesity, a family history of this condition and other lifestyle habits such as smoking tobacco put one at higher risks of this disorder.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis might vary among people. The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are;

1. Severe pain in the morning
2. Episodes of mild fever with severe pain
3. Redness and inflammation of the joints which might cause intense pain
4. Stiffness in the joints
5. The pain might increase in low-temperature conditions
6. Acute lethargy and weight loss

Treatments
The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis includes a prescribed dosage (depending on the intensity of the condition) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, anti-rheumatoid drugs such as methotrexate and steroid drugs such as prednisone to reduce the swelling and the subsequent pain. Performing regular exercises in order to retain the flexibility of the joints with appropriate consultation from the physiotherapist might cure rheumatoid arthritis.

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