Skin Problems In People With Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is one of common types of arthritis, though it is less common than osteoarthritis. It occurs when the body immune system attacks the lining of the protective membranes surrounding the joints called synovium.
So in RA, there is something that goes awry with the body immune system. Therefore its also known as autoimmune disease.
Still, it mainly affects and attacks your joints. But again the effect of the disease is systemic. In other words, it can affect other parts /organs of your body that have nothing to do with your joints, including skin.
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Numbness In The Hands
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of the connective tissues in your hands or feet, leading to painful sensations of tingling or numbness. Though this swelling can occur in any part of the body, its more common around the wrists. When tissues in the hands are being compressed, its referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Stages Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are four stages. Each has its own treatment options.
- In the early stages, your joint lining, or synovium, becomes inflamed. The bones arenât damaged yet. But the tissue around them often swells, making your joint stiff and painful.
- In this moderate stage, inflammation damages your cartilage, the cushiony stuff that protects the ends of your bones.
- The joint will be stiff, and you wonât be able to move it as far as you used to. The doctor will say youâve lost range of motion.
- This is the severe stage. Inflammation is wearing away cartilage and causes erosion of bones near your joints. The joints may become unstable. You might start to notice deformities as the bones move around. Youâll have pain, swelling, and loss of motion.
- In end stage RA, inflammation stops, but the damage continues. The joint might stop working. Youâll still have pain, swelling, stiffness, and lack of motion. Your muscles may be weak, too. It could be time for joint replacement surgery.
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Whats The Outlook For Someone Living With Arthritis
Since theres no cure for arthritis, most people need to manage arthritis for the rest of their lives. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right combination of treatments to reduce symptoms. One of the biggest health risks associated with arthritis is inactivity. If you become sedentary from joint pain, you may face a greater risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions.
Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Hives
Chronic hives is not as common as acute hives. It is a condition of when the itchy nettle rash becomes chronic or persists for more than 6 weeks. Even sometimes, it may persist over many years.
It is quite rare, but it could be more painful and serious, because it is often linked to particular health condition. The main culprit is the abnormality of the body immune system . About 30 percent of all cases are thought as a consequence of immune system abnormality. For such cases, this is also called autoimmune hives.
Autoimmune hives is not fully understood yet. No one knows what causes this abnormality. Interestingly, sometimes it may occur in combination with another autoimmune disorder, such as:
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Find What Works For You
As many members have described, finding what works when your RA symptoms flare is crucial. I feel like I have finally figured this whole thing out, one wrote. I have come to fully understand that prevention of pain is just as important as soothing a flare. It does take discipline, preparation, and an RA toolbox and emergency kit. But, I am living proof that it can be done. We must listen to what our bodies are telling us.
Once you and your doctor have identified what medications and at-home management approaches work for you, follow through with them.
Can Imaging Exams Detect Arthritis
Imaging exams can help your healthcare provider get a clear picture of your bones, joints and soft tissues. An X-ray, MRI or ultrasound can reveal:
- Bone fractures or dislocations that may be causing you joint pain.
- Cartilage breakdown around your joints.
- Muscle, ligament or tendon injuries near your joints.
- Soft tissue inflammation.
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How Long Do Ra Flares Last
The length of time an RA flare lasts can vary widely, from a few hours to several days or weeks. If a flare does not improve after 7 days, it may be a good idea to contact a physician. The doctor may suggest adjusting the persons medication.
Before a RA flare begins, a person may experience fatigue or feel that something is not quite right.
During a flare, symptoms tend to increase until they reach their peak. As the peak passes, the symptoms will lessen and may completely disappear.
The frequency and severity of flares can vary widely between individuals. With treatment, a person may spend months or years in remission, while others may experience flares more frequently.
RA flares can be predictable or unpredictable. A flare will occur when something triggers an increase in disease activity, which means that levels of inflammation go up.
Predictable flares usually occur in response to one or more triggers.
Some flares have no apparent trigger, and a person may be unable to identify why it started. This can make them harder to avoid.
In 2017, a involving 274 people with RA who attended a clinic in Turkey found the following appeared to worsen their symptoms:
- emotional or physical stress
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Rashes
RA symptoms can vary according to the severity of the disease. RV is a less common symptom of RA. It occurs when your blood vessels become inflamed. This can lead to other symptoms that range from a red, irritated rash to an ulcer on the skin due to lack of blood flow. RV often occurs on the legs.
Other symptoms that can occur with RV include:
- weight loss
- malaise, or lack of energy
Another rash-like effect of rheumatoid arthritis is palmar erythema. This causes redness in the hands. The condition typically:
- affects both hands
- doesnt itch
- may cause increased warmth in the hands
Interstitial granulomatous dermatitis is another rash that can occur with rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors may also call this condition rheumatoid papules. Symptoms associated with the condition include red plaques or bumps that closely resemble eczema. The rash is itchy and often painful. However, interstitial granulomatous dermatitis is very rare in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown but it is believed certain factors may affect a person’s risk of developing the condition: susceptibility factors and initiating factors.
Susceptibility factors are those that increase a persons susceptibility to developing rheumatoid arthritis when exposed to certain factors that start the inflammatory process. Susceptibility factors include:
- Female sex
- Genetics (people with a relative who has RA have an increased risk of developing the condition
- Initiating factors are those that increase the chances a susceptible person will develop the disease, including:
Can Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Prevented Or Avoided
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis cannot be prevented or avoided. Certain lifestyle changes can lessen your childs discomfort. This includes exercise . Warm up before exercising. A physical therapist can offer your child a plan for home exercises. Ask your doctor about seeing a physical therapist for home exercise to reduce pain.
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When Should I See A Rheumatologist
Aching joints are kind of a normal thing for many. But if you notice new joint painespecially pain that affects both hands or both feetthat lasts for more than a week, call your doctor. And if you have a family history of RA, be extra alert.
If your doctor suspects RA, youll be referred to a rheumatologist, a specialist with specific training and skills to diagnose and treat rheumatoid arthritis. The earlier both of those happen, the better your chances of reducing or eliminating symptoms with treatment. Dont delay: If youre concerned, err on the cautious side and make an appointment.
Are Rheumatoid Nodules A Health Concern
For the most part, rheumatoid nodules do not cause severe pain for most patients and are not usually a health concern. However, on rare occasions, the skin over top of the nodule can become infected or ulcerated and this only occurs if an excessive amount of pressure is placed on the nodule. If nodules develop in sensitive areas, then increased pressure resulting in infection would be more likely to occur.
Rheumatoid nodules have also been known to form in areas of the body other than the joints. One location where nodules develop, leading to severe symptoms, are the eyes. The autoimmune process in rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation, eye dryness, and pain.
Though it is rare, rheumatoid nodules are capable of forming on the vocal cords and also in the lungs, heart and other internal organs. Because of this involvement of multiple organs, diagnosis can be challenging. Symptoms are not always obvious and sometimes mimic other illnesses.
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What Is The Patient’s Role In Treating Or Managing Arthritis
The patient is the most important member of the health care team.
The patient plays an important role in his or her medical care. The patient can contribute to the success of a treatment plan by:
- learning about arthritis
- reporting progress and setbacks to health team
- keeping a positive attitude
- developing relationships with the rest of the health care team
Keeping a positive attitude, though sometimes difficult, is an important ingredient in overcoming arthritis. Asking questions and finding out as much as you can about of arthritis and its treatment is important. So talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you still need more information , ask the nurse, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist to help you find answers to your questions.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Early signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis come on gradually, often before joint pain or stiffness is noticeable, and may include fatigue, muscle pain, fever, weight loss, numbness and tingling in the hands, and feeling unwell.
When joint pain and stiffness begins, it usually occurs in the small joints, such as those joints at the base of the fingers, the middle of the fingers, and the base of the toes, or may occur in a single, large joint, such as the knee or shoulder, or it may shift from one joint to another
Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the same joints on both sides of the body . As the condition progresses, joint pain and inflammation become more prominent and symptoms include:
Joint pain and stiffness that may affect the:
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Rheumatoid Nodules: Are Rheumatoid Nodules Dangerous
A variety of symptoms can occur when suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The sporadic, yet chronic nature of the disease is such that symptoms may come and go over time and manifest in different ways.
One of the most common skin-based symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is the development of nodules. These rheumatoid nodules occur in about one-quarter of rheumatoid arthritis patients, both men and women and their severity can vary from patient to patient. Although nodules are generally not dangerous or debilitating, there are treatment options available if it becomes necessary to have them reduced or removed.
Living With Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Whether your childs symptoms come and go or are long-lasting some things can help. This includes:
- Take a hot shower. Use a hot or cold pack or sleep in a warm bed to relieve stiffness.
- Stretching and do range-of-motion exercises. This reduces joint stiffness and improves flexibility. Exercise at the same time every day. Make it easy. Do it while watching TV or with family members.
- Take medicine at the right time and consistently. Have your child take his or her medicine at the same time as another activity. This makes it easy to remember.
Being active is important in managing the disease. Children who have the disease may need emotional support. This is important in managing the anger and sadness of having the disease.
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How Is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed
Your childs doctor will ask about your childs symptoms and do a physical exam. It can be hard to diagnose. You doctor may do an X-ray or blood test to rule out other illnesses. X-rays also can show more severe damage or deformities. Your childs doctor may want to take a sample of fluid from an actively inflamed joint or spinal fluid. It may take a few months before your doctor makes a diagnosis. This is so he or she can watch your childs symptoms over time.
Both Sides Of The Body Affected
Typically, the distribution of the joints involved in a person with rheumatoid arthritis is similar on both sides of the body. This symmetric joint involvement is a feature of classic rheumatoid arthritis. This does not mean that joint involvement is always symmetric, but it is common.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually involves many joints on both sides of the body. It is, therefore, sometimes referred to as an asymmetric polyarticular form of arthritis. Accordingly, the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet are commonly affected. The knees, ankles, shoulders, hips, and elbows can also be involved in early disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by inflammation in these joints. Early manifestations of this inflammation can be gradual or rapidly intense. The joint inflammation causes stiffness, usually worse in the morning or after being sedentary. It also causes warmth, swelling, redness, and pain in varying degrees. The joint can be very subtly affected with slight swelling or markedly affected with substantial loss of range of motion. The pain level can be completely disabling and does not always correlate with the degree of apparent inflammation.
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Why Does Arthritis Pain Come And Go
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Chest Pain/shortness Of Breath
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect blood vessels throughout the entire body, including the heart. People with RA are at a greater risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues. Additionally, shortness of breath could be a sign that something is wrong, such as a lung infection or inflammation. If you frequently find yourself running out of breath or suffering chest pain, please call a rheumatologist as soon as possible.
Other Body Parts Ra Can Affect
- Bones. The chemicals that cause inflammation can also take a bite out of your bones. It often affects your hips and spine. Sometimes, itâs a byproduct of years of treating RA with steroids.
- Liver and kidneys. Itâs rare for RA to affect these organs. But the drugs that treat it can. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be bad for both. Cyclosporine may cause kidney disease. Methotrexate can damage your liver.
- Immune system. The medications you take can slow it down. This makes you more likely to get infections.
- Mucous membranes. You might be more likely to get a condition called Sjogrenâs syndrome that dries out moist places in your body like your eyes, your mouth, and inside your nose.
- Muscles. When inflammation stops you from moving your joints, the attached muscles can get weak. Or you could get a condition called myositis that weakens them. The medications you take for RA can also be to blame.
- Nerves. RA causes symptoms that range from numbness and tingling to paralysis. It can result from joint damage that RA causes, the disease process itself, or medications that treat it.
- Blood vessels. RA can cause inflammation of your blood vessels. It can show up as spots on the skin or can cause ulcers in more severe cases.
What Ra Does To Your Heart And Lungs
RA can affect more than just your joints. Complications can involve your organs, blood vessels, and bones.
RA can damage your lungs or inflame the lining around them. This causes chest pain that worsens with breathing, called pleurisy. Lung problems are the most common symptoms of RA outside the joints. This may not cause symptoms, or you might notice shortness of breath. Your doctor can treat it with drugs that ease the inflammation in your lungs.
Severe inflammation from RA in your lungs can make the tissue stiff, thickened, and scarred. This is pulmonary fibrosis, a hard-to-treat condition that makes it tough to breathe.
Likewise, RA can inflame the lining around your heart or your heart muscle . You probably wouldnât notice symptoms from that. Thereâs a chance you could feel shortness of breath or sharp, stabbing chest pain. If you do, call your doctor. It can also raise your odds of heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke.
When RA gets into the cartilage that connects your ribs to your sternum, it can feel like youâre having a heart attack. This is known as chest wall pain.
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