Rheumatoid arthritis can cause more problems than your joints. The condition can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and blood vessels in some people.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks your body’s tissues.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not like osteoarthritis in that it causes wear-and-tear damage. Instead, it affects the linings of your joints and can cause painful swelling. This can lead to bone erosion and deformities.
Rheumatoid-associated inflammation can cause other injuries to the body. Although new medications have made it easier to treat severe rheumatoid, there are still physical disabilities.
The following are signs and symptoms of rheumatoidarthritis:
- Warm, tender, swelling joints
- It is common to feel stiffness in your joints, especially in the mornings or after exercise.
- Fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to first affect the smaller joints, particularly those that connect your fingers to your hands and your feet to your toes.
As the disease progresses symptoms can spread to the wrists. Symptoms usually occur in the same areas on both sides.
Around 40% of those with rheumatoid arthritis also experience symptoms that aren’t related to the joints. These areas may be affected:
- Salivary glands
- Nerve tissue
- Bone marrow
- Blood vessels
Rheumatoid-arthritis symptoms and signs can vary in severity. They may also change over time. Flares are periods of high disease activity that alternate with periods when there is relative remission. This is when swelling and pain disappear or diminish. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to joints becoming deformed and shifting out of their normal positions.
When should you see a doctor?
If you are experiencing persistent pain or swelling in your joints, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Rheumatoid is an autoimmune condition. Your immune system is responsible for protecting your body against disease and infection. In rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your joints. It can also lead to medical problems in your heart, lungs and nerves.
Although doctors don’t know the cause of this condition, it is likely to have a genetic component. Although rheumatoid is not caused by your genes, it can be triggered by environmental factors such as infection with bacteria or viruses.
These factors could increase your risk of developing rheumatoidarthritis:
- Your sex.Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than it is in men.
- AgeAlthough rheumatoid arthritis can happen at any age it is most common in middle-aged people.
- The family historyYou may be at higher risk if a family member has rheumatoid.
- Smoking.Smoking cigarettes increases your chance of developing rheumatoid artifiia, especially if you are predisposed to the condition. Also, smoking appears to be linked with a higher degree of disease severity.
- Extra weight.Overweight people are at an increased risk of developing rheumatoid artifiid arthritis.
Your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis is higher
- Osteoporosis.Along with medications for rheumatoid, rheumatoid can increase your chance of osteoporosis. This is a condition that weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to fracture.
- Rheumatoid nodules.These bumps of tissue are most common around pressure points like the elbows. These nodules can also form anywhere else in the body, such as the heart or lungs.
- Dry your eyes and mouth.Sjogren’s syndrome is a condition that causes a decrease in moisture levels.
- Infections. Rheumatoid-related arthritis and the medications that are used to treat it can cause immune system impairments, which can lead to an increase in infections. To prevent disease such as pneumonia, influenza, shingles, and COVID-19, get vaccinated.
- Atypical body composition.People with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher proportion of fat to their lean mass than those without. This is even true for people who have a normal body weight index (BMI).
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.Rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in your wrists. This could lead to the compression of the nerves that serve most of your fingers and hand.
- Heart problemsRheumatoid arthritis can increase your chances of developing hardened or blocked arteries and inflammation of your heart.
- Lung disease.Rheumatoid arthritis patients are at greater risk for inflammation and scarring in the lung tissues. This can cause progressive shortness or breath.
- Lymphoma.Rheumatoid Arthritis increases the risk for lymphoma. This is a type of blood cancer that occurs in the lymph system.