Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the arthritis of small joints of the body, and an autoimmune condition that under severe situations can also attack internal organs of lungs and heart. Rheumatoid is chronic, severe and a debilitating disease that in absence of appropriate treatment, may cause considerable joint deformation, resulting in serious disability.
It mainly affects women, majority between 30 to 50 years of age, who contribute to 70% of total RA cases. But, children and men can also get affected. In men, it is known to attack more severely, and they remain less responsive to treatment.
Diagnosis Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The usual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are more flu like, and include muscle aches, low grade fever, reduced appetite, and perspiration of feet and hands. But, these symptoms get misdiagnosed as flu signs.
In several cases, additionally, one may also observe swollen, painful and red joints that are warm to touch. This gives a clear identification of rheumatoid arthritis and rules out flu possibilities. In rheumatoid arthritis, the joint symptoms appear symmetrically.
If one of the hands gets affected, the other hand is bound to be affected at the same moment. There is no specific test to identify rheumatoid arthritis.
Doctors diagnose it based on various factors associated with this disease. Still, few tests are there that help to diagnose it.
Doctor looks for obvious swelling, warmth and redness in the joint areas. Moreover, the doctor analyzes the muscle strength and reflexes of the suspected individual.
Patients of rheumatoid arthritis show an elevated ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) that is the indicator of inflammatory responses of the body. Other blood tests help in identification of anti cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) and rheumatoid factor antibodies.
X-rays are utilized by the doctor for prognosis of rheumatoid arthritis. It helps to monitor the progression of the disease over a period, by taking x-ray of the affected joints periodically.
Early Stage Diagnosis Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The early stage identification is difficult, but rheumatologists use certain criteria to identify the disease.
RA patients usually show stiffness of joints, for minimum of one hour in the morning, soon after getting up.
Swelling Of Three Or More Joints
Fluid accumulation or swelling around three or more joints simultaneously is observed in RA patients.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients normally have swelling in at least one area of the arm. You could find them in hand, wrist or finger joints (knowing thumb arthritis symptoms). You will know the symptoms rheumatoid arthritis in hand.
When swelling of joints happen symmetrically, on both sides of the body, it is bound to be rheumatoid arthritis.
Presence of rheumatoid nodules within the body, specifically in the pressure points of elbows or knees, identifies it as rheumatoid disease.
Detection Of Rheumatoid Factor
Abnormal levels of rheumatoid factor in the blood confirm the rheumatoid arthritis.
Deformation of Joints
If x-ray identification displays deformation of joints, then one is having a progressive rheumatoid arthritis stage of the disease.
The initial factors of swelling and stiffness usually appear since past six weeks, but probably considered as usual joint pain, by the affected individual.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis may come or go, intermittently but usually follows a persistent behavior. Having four or more of the above factors officially diagnose and identifies the disease of the joints as rheumatoid arthritis.