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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Some Signs

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that sees the body’s immune system attack the joints, causing chronic inflammation and swelling.

As joint damage and deformity resulting from rheumatoid arthritis is irreversible, it’s important to diagnose the disease early, because while this condition is incurable, it certainly can be treated.

Here, we list some of the common signs associated with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as some short-term remedies you can use to alleviate these symptoms. If you suspect you may have rheumatoid arthritis,  contact your doctor to discuss your concerns in more detail.

Stiffness

You may find that your joints are harder to move than usual, particularly in the morning. While normally you can shake off morning stiffness in a matter of minutes, for those with rheumatoid arthritis it may take more than an hour, or even several hours, before their joints loosen up again.

Heat packs and pain relief creams can soothe stiff, painful joints and may help ease your symptoms and make you feel better.

Joint Pain

When your immune system attacks your joints, it causes inflammation as things swell up. You can identify swelling in many cases if the area around your joints is warmer or appears red. This swelling can be very painful, regardless of whether you’re moving the joint or staying still. If left untreated, inflammation can cause joint damage and, worse, pain. What’s more, the joint problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis are often mirrored, so the same joint on either side of the body will both be affected.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce joint swelling and provide fast relief for pain.

Fatigue

Many autoimmune diseases share similar early symptoms. If your body is attacking healthy cells (particularly red blood cells) you may become anaemic, which will lead you to feel sluggish and tired all the time. The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to severe fatigue. Chronic pain can also wear you out throughout the day and keep you up at night, further sapping you of energy.

Taking pain relievers before bed to help lessen joint pain may help you get a better night’s sleep if your fatigue stems from your pain. During the day, be sure to hydrate well so you can feel alert – but stay away from coffee and other sources of caffeine.

Low-Grade Fever

As fevers and muscle aches are often symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, it may be easy to mistake these as flu symptoms. A low-grade fever is one in which your temperature is between 37˚ C and 38˚C. Fever occurs most of the time with rheumatoid arthritis in accompaniment with joint inflammation, as fevers are your body’s way of fighting foreign pathogens – or in this case, the body’s own healthy tissue.

Paracetamol can be used to combat fever, as well as symptoms associated with fever, like muscle aches, chills, and headaches. It can even help with joint swelling and stiffness.

Have any questions about rheumatoid arthritis? Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: If you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed in the products mentioned, do not consume them. Always check with your doctor before trying a new medication or regime, and if irritation or allergy occurs stop using the product or medication immediately.

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