Five Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is very common among adults who are over 60, but the truth is it can appear earlier. The thing is it most cases aren't identified as such.
Five Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gilberto Adaulfo Sánchez Abreu

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Gilberto Adaulfo Sánchez Abreu.

Last update: 30 May, 2022

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation and deformities of the joints and the surrounding tissue. This type of arthritis is very common among adults who are over 60, although there are certain cases when it develops at earlier stages.

It often affects areas such as the knees and hands. However, it can also affect other parts of the body, including some muscles and tissues.

Although there is no definite cause that explains its occurrence, rheumatoid arthritis has links with several factors. These include hereditary factors, wear and tear on the joints over time, and certain injuries.

The main symptom is pain that varies in intensity. This pain is almost always accompanied by inflammation, feelings of heaviness, and difficulty carrying out normal movements.

Some patients feel better with time, while others have to seek medical treatment when conditions worsen. This is why it’s important that everyone is aware of the disease, including its risk factors, development, and types of treatment.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

1. Painful joints

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include painful joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that typically affects several different joints, especially in the hands and knees.

Very rarely does it occur in a single joint. This is because it develops gradually over time and extends to other parts of the body. However, some patients with arthritis always feel it on one side, however, and this can facilitate their control of the pain.

There are even cases where pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as alternative therapies, are enough to provide relief.

2. Anyone can develop it

In general, the continuous pain in the joints associated with rheumatoid arthritis has to do with wear and tear that occurs with age. This disease isn’t just unique to old age, however. It can also develop in children or young adults.

While it’s true that most cases appear in older adults, the possibility of suffering could occur much earlier, especially if you have a family history of the disease or any injuries.

3. It continues to confound the medical community

 A woman talking to her doctor.
Although rheumatoid arthritis is relatively common, its development continues to confound the medical and scientific communities around the world.

This is because no one knows what the exact cause could be, as there are many symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and factors associated with joint wear and tear.

What is clear to experts is that the condition arises when the body’s immune system starts to attack its own tissues, which is the case around the joints. It’s still unclear what triggers the body to initiate this reaction, though.

That said, some of the risk factors include:

4. The diagnosis is complex

Many diseases are easy to diagnose because samples of bodily fluids can provide hard evidence. Rheumatoid arthritis is a special case, however. Its detection is very difficult because of the way that symptoms show up.

In the initial stages, pain can be confused with other minor health problems and people may even overlook it while assuming that it’s related to fatigue.

According to data from the Mayo Clinic, there is no single test that can be used to identify this disorder.

In addition to that, and because the cases tend to appear gradually, it can take several years to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms, family history, and X-ray analysis are some of the methods that are used to identify it.

5. There are several different types of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

A doctor helping a patient with therapy.

Although the disease doesn’t have a definitive cure, there are many methods that can help overcome and control the severity of your symptoms. Treatments are designed to control inflammation and pain while allowing patients to lead a normal lifestyle.

  • First of all, it’s recommended to educate the patient through self-help programs and support groups, because this diagnosis can have a strong impact on their emotional state.
  • Doctors will then prescribe pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs to control pain and alleviate stiffness.
  • In addition to this, it’s best to attend some physical therapy sessions to strengthen and protect the surrounding tissues in affected joints.

There are also plenty of natural products that may serve as supplements to help alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

What to do if I think I have rheumatoid arthritis?

Do you suspect that you have this disease? At the first warning sign, it’s best to receive medical attention and be thoroughly evaluated. In the event that you receive a positive diagnosis, you’ll need to modify your daily habits to keep it from affecting your quality of life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.