Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How To Tell If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ra Or Osteoarthritis How To Tell The Difference

Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis: Which one do you have?

When it comes to arthritis, one type definitely doesn’t fit all. There are dozens of different variations of arthritis, but the two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid, affecting millions of people a year. What are the differences between the two types of arthritis, and how does your doctor know which one you have?

The main difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is that osteoarthritis is a disease caused by wear and tear while rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation-based illness. Osteoarthritis involves a breakdown in the cartilage that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. This cartilage allows for easy and fluid movement, and when it wears away the joint becomes stiffer and more painful to move. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that most often affects the small joints in the hands and feet. The inflammation attacks the joint linings and can cause painful swelling and may eventually result in permanent damage to the bones and joints.

Other differences between the two conditions:

On the other hand, the diseases do have similarities. Many sufferers of both conditions report feeling particularly achy in the morning. There is a genetic component to both diseases, although osteoarthritis can also be brought on or worsened by being overweight or by leading an extremely active lifestyle.

Answers From Our Doctors

Your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms and also do some tests to decide if you have RA. With that knowledge, there are some guidelines commonly used.

These criteria were developed by the American College of Rheumatology in 1988 and are still used to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Of these seven criteria, four are needed for a diagnosis. Criteria 1 through 4 must have been present for at least 6 weeks.

1.Morning stiffness lasting at least 1 hour before major improvement

2.Arthritis in three or more of the following joint areas on either side of the body: middle joint of the fingers, the knuckles , wrist, elbow, knee, ankle, or the joint between the toes and the foot

3.Arthritis in the hand joints: specifically in the wrist, the knuckles, or the middle joint of the fingers

4.Joint swelling of the same joint on both sides of the body or joint swelling on both sides of the body affecting the middle joint of the fingers, the knuckles, and/or the joint between the toes and the foot

5.Bumps that develop under the skin over pressure points or areas where bones protrude.

6.Positive RF test

7.X-ray changes that show decalcified bone or uneven patches of bone erosion around only the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Thinning bones throughout the body unrelated to rheumatoid joints do not qualify.

Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis You Need To Know

Quincy AdamArthritis Learn

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may occur at any ageincluding childhood. The disease may progress over months or years. Although RA can affect anyone, it occurs more often in women.

Medications and other treatment options are available, so if you think you might be suffering from RA, discuss your symptoms with a doctor to get a diagnosis. In the meantime, you can review these symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis to see if you have any of them.

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The Challenge Of Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is often difficult to diagnose. No single can diagnose RA, and the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can mimic those of other conditions. It is also possible for symptoms such as joint pain to take months or even years to develop fully, and they might disappear for a period only to return later. A primary care physician or rheumatologista doctor who specializes in problems affecting bones, joints and musclescan perform lab tests and X-rays, along with a physical examination, to determine whether you have RA.

Accessed On 6th July 2016 Http: //wwweularorg/myuploaddata/files/ra%20class%20slides%20acr: Webpdf

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the hand

Ill make the point that the information I present here is obviously not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

But Im hoping to help lead people who may have the disease to an earlier diagnosis and suitable treatment.

By the way, Ive written many more posts on Rheumatoid Arthritis. Please have a read at this link.

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Take this test: Do you have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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Effective Treatments For Ra Are Available

But the good news is that in 2021, the treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are better than ever. There are phenomenal therapies for RA, and most patients will have a completely normal life, provided they take their medications, says Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida, and a medical advisor to CreakyJoints, a support, education, advocacy, and research organization for people living with arthritis and rheumatic disease. Here are five important things to note about disease progression:

Diagnosis And Tests For Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is no definitive test for rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Your GP will ask about your symptoms, check the movement of your joints and perform a physical examination.

If they think you have rheumatoid arthritis, they’ll recommend a blood test and refer you to a rheumatologist .

A blood test will check for several different proteins that can indicate rheumatoid arthritis. Your blood test may measure:

  • Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies that attack healthy tissue in your body
  • C-reactive protein levels a measure of inflammation
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate a measure of inflammation
  • Rheumatoid factors proteins produced by your immune system when it mistakenly attacks healthy tissue
  • Your full blood count this can:
    • Check if you have anaemia, which is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis
    • Help rule out other conditions
    • Indicate your general health

To identify the type of arthritis you have and monitor how the disease progresses over time, your rheumatologist may also take images of your joints, such as:

If you receive a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, your rheumatologist may assess how you cope with everyday tasks.

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Your Doctor Can’t Fully Appreciate Potential New Symptoms Via Telemedicine

In the COVID-19 pandemic era, people with rheumatoid arthritis cant always make it into the doctors office for a physical visit. But a telemedicine, or telehealth, appointment, which is unquestionably better than not checking in with health professionals at all, may not detect that the disease is progressing as well as an in-person visit.

Domingues says that rheumatologists should definitely notice if joints are swollen and warm to the touch in an office consultation signs of active inflammation but they may not catch the severity of those symptoms on a computer screen. If were not physically examining them, the communication between doctors and patients needs to be even better, Domingues says. He says to make sure that you mention how your joints feel when you wake up, how much stiffness you experience in the morning and for how long, if youre able to make a full fist early in the day, and if you see red, warm, or swollen joints. Those are the pivotal signs of worsening RA, he says.

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What Are The Complications Of Ra

How to Know if you Have Arthritis: Early Signs of Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis has many physical and social consequences and can lower quality of life. It can cause pain, disability, and premature death.

  • Premature heart disease. People with RA are also at a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. To prevent people with RA from developing heart disease, treatment of RA also focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors. For example, doctors will advise patients with RA to stop smoking and lose weight.
  • Obesity. People with RA who are obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being obese also increases risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Finally, people with RA who are obese experience fewer benefits from their medical treatment compared with those with RA who are not obese.
  • Employment. RA can make work difficult. Adults with RA are less likely to be employed than those who do not have RA. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they cannot do as much as they used to. Work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding. Work loss is lower among those in jobs with few physical demands, or in jobs where they have influence over the job pace and activities.

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How Ra Affects Feet

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. When you have RA, your immune system tries to destroy the lining of your joints, called synovium. It also attacks the fluid in your joints, called synovial fluid. It does this because it mistakes these parts of your body for disease-causing invaders.

RA causes damage and inflammation that makes your joints swell and feel warm. The small joints, like those in the feet, are the most common targets of these attacks.

Eventually, long-term inflammation thickens the synovium. This causes cartilage and bone to wear away. In the feet and toes, the joints may become deformed. This leads to poor range of motion and considerable pain. Walking, standing, and even wearing shoes can become difficult.

Proper treatment may help reduce the damage and inflammation to your foot joints. It may also prevent or delay deformities and other problems.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body.

RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness , and deformity .

RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

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Symptoms Affecting The Joints

Rheumatoid arthritis is primarily a condition that affects the joints. It can cause problems in any joint in the body, although the small joints in the hands and feet are often the first to be affected.

Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the joints symmetrically , but this is not always the case.

The main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis affecting the joints are outlined below.

The Number Of Swollen Painful Joints You Have Is An Indicator Of Disease Severity

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The more joints that are painful and swollen, the more severe the disease may be, says Dr. Cush. Joint pain and swelling are characteristic signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatologists consider this a very important way to measure disease severity.

Your doctor should examine joints in your hands, feet, shoulders, hips, elbows, and other spots to see how many are causing problems. Symmetrical symptoms, such as having the same swollen joints on both sides of the body, are also hallmark symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, Cush says.

Dr. Domingues adds that the traditional morning stiffness and joint swelling that are characteristic symptoms of RA should be discussed with a rheumatologist as soon as possible. Those are signs of active rheumatoid arthritis, and when it presents like that, it gives doctors an opportunity to be aggressive in early treatment or to switch to another class of drugs if symptoms are worsening.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include the following:

  • Stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods
  • Fatigue

Rheumatoid arthritis affects each person differently. In most people, joint symptoms may develop gradually over several years. In other people, rheumatoid arthritis may proceed rapidly. A few people may have rheumatoid arthritis for a limited period of time and then go into remission .

Cartilage normally acts as a shock absorber between the joints. Uncontrolled inflammation causes the destruction and wearing down of the cartilage, which leads to joint deformities. Eventually, the bone itself erodes, potentially leading to fusion of the joint . This process is aided by specific cells and substances of the immune system, which are produced in the joints but also circulate and cause symptoms throughout the body.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system which usually fights infection attacks the cells that line your joints by mistake, making them swollen, stiff and painful.

Over time, this can damage the joint itself, the cartilage and nearby bone.

Its not clear what triggers this problem with the immune system, although you are at an increased risk if you are a woman, you have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis, or you smoke.

Read more about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis.

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Stiffness In The Joints

In addition to pain, this disease causes stiffness in the affected joints. You may have difficulty getting out of bed or walking in the morning because of stiff and painful ankles, knees, or feet. This stiffness is usually worse in the mornings and can last for 45 minutes or more.

RA can also trigger swelling in the affected joints. Long-term inflammation can cause you to feel physically exhausted.

Your Lifestyle Is More Sedentary And You’re Moving Less

How do I know if I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dr. Hatem Eleishi

Regular physical activity is necessary for everyone but especially for people with RA. Research has shown that regular cardiovascular exercise and weight training can substantially improve daily function without exacerbating rheumatoid arthritis disease activity. There are numerous health benefits associated with regular physical activity like improved muscle strength and better bone and joint health which all help your aches and pains feel better. But rest is also needed to restore the body from the bouts of intense pain and fatigue that are characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis. But you cant let taking it easy become a way of life. A sedentary lifestyle may eventually lead to increased pain, fatigue, and weakness, and a lower quality of life.

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Regular exercise also has another life-enhancing benefit: It helps reduce your odds of developing cardiovascular disease. Taking good care of your ticker is essential for people with rheumatoid arthritis, because heart problems are more prevalent in people who have RA compared with the general population. Its heart disease that kills you, not the RA, says Domingues. Its very important to talk to your primary care doctor or a cardiologist if you have RA to control your risk factors, such as high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.

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How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated

The goals of rheumatoid arthritis treatment are to:

  • Control a patient’s signs and symptoms.
  • Prevent joint damage.
  • Maintain the patients quality of life and ability to function.

Joint damage generally occurs within the first two years of diagnosis, so it is important to diagnose and treat rheumatoid arthritis in the window of opportunity to prevent long-term consequences.

Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include medications, rest, exercise, physical therapy/occupational therapy, and surgery to correct damage to the joint.

The type of treatment will depend on several factors, including the person’s age, overall health, medical history, and the severity of the arthritis.

Outlook For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Two in 10 people with rheumatoid arthritis have a mild form and can lead a normal life for many years. One in 10 with the disease become severely disabled. Seven in 10 have an intermediate form of the disease and can lead full lives but will need to adapt their lifestyle.

Medications for rheumatoid arthritis have improved over the years. Taking medications alongside making lifestyle changes can significantly improve your outlook for rheumatoid arthritis.

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When To Seek Treatment

The following are general guidelines of when to seek treatment for your RA progression:

When you first suspect symptoms Regularly during the first few years of diagnosis If you suspect you are experiencing progressive rheumatoid arthritis If you feel your condition is worsening in any way or new symptoms appear

Take This Test: Do You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

How To Tell If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Take this test: Do you have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Lots of people have joint pain or other joint problems. Most of the time, there are not due to rheumatoid arthritis .

There is no single test to diagnose RA. The diagnosis is made from a combination of clinical symptoms and findings, supported by various blood tests .

However, you can try this arthritis screen to determine the likelihood of having the disease by this series of questions which may act as a rheumatoid arthritis test.

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Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a lifelong disease. When its treated, it may go away for a little while, but it usually comes back. Its important to see your doctor as soon as symptoms begin. The earlier you start treatment, the better your outcome. Some of the damage from RA is irreversible, so finding the disease and treating it early is very important.

If left untreated, RA can cause other health problems. Your hands may become bent or twisted. Other joints can become deformed. Inflammation will affect your cartilage and bones. Lung and heart problems also can occur. Talk to your doctor if you notice any new symptoms or problems.

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