Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints and causes pain and swelling that may lead to joint deformity and erosion if left untreated. This disorder of the auto-immunological system occurs when the body's immune system attacks the body's own tissues.
This condition is progressive in nature and can cause the destruction of joints, leading to functional and locomotive disability. Though rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can last for years, patients may not experience any symptoms for a long time. In some cases, the disease may affect other parts of the body like the eyes, lungs, and the heart.
Symptoms of the disease:
- Fever, fatigue, and loss of weight: Fatigue is a common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. It may be a result of the body's reaction to insomnia, anemia, and inflammation. It may also be caused due to loss of appetite and the consequent and unintended weight loss. Sometimes rheumatoid arthritis is also accompanied by fever.
- Problems in the joints: One of the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is swelling of the joints that become tender and painful. During the early days, only the smaller joints are affected, especially the finger and toe joints. However as the disease worsens, the symptoms spread to other body parts like knees, wrists, elbows, ankles, etc. Joint redness and warmth are also characteristic features of rheumatoid arthritis. It is also recognized by joint deformity and stiff joints.
- Rheumatoid nodules: Another symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is the presence of firm bumps of tissues under the skin on the arms. These bumps are known as rheumatoid nodules and may be painful. The nodules may come and go depending on the severity of the disease at a particular time. During flares, they may appear, and they may subside during the periods of remission just as all the other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
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