Thursday, December 1, 2022

What Rheumatoid Arthritis Feels Like

Medical History And Physical Examination

How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Feel? (My Experience) | ARTIST AS GUIDE

After listening to your symptoms and discussing your general health and medical history, your doctor will examine your foot and ankle.

Skin. The location of callouses indicate areas of abnormal pressure on the foot. The most common location is on the ball of the foot . If the middle of the foot is involved, there may be a large prominence on the inside and bottom of the foot. This can cause callouses.

Foot shape. Your doctor will look for specific deformities, such as bunions, claw toes, and flat feet.

Flexibility. In the early stages of RA, the joints will typically still have movement. As arthritis progresses and there is a total loss of cartilage, the joints become very stiff. Whether there is motion within the joints will influence treatment options.

Tenderness to pressure. Although applying pressure to an already sensitive foot can be very uncomfortable, it is critical that your doctor identify the areas of the foot and ankle that are causing the pain. By applying gentle pressure at specific joints your doctor can determine which joints have symptoms and need treatment. The areas on the x-ray that look abnormal are not always the same ones that are causing the pain.

Ongoing Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness and people described different symptoms which they experienced whilst living with the disease, some of which were eased by the medication prescribed but others that persisted. Joint instability, inflammation and deterioration are all causes of pain and most people we interviewed had these in some form. Some people also have rheumatoid nodules which are bumps/lumps which can appear overnight on tendons and joints. Most commonly nodules on elbows and fingers were mentioned. These were not necessarily painful, sometimes disappeared on their own or required aspiration, a steroid injection or surgery for removal.People described pain in many ways’ extraordinary, incredible, absolute agony, excruciating, pumping, intolerable, burning, tingling, nervy, like toothache without the teeth, a raging fever, feet shouting at me etc. Many felt that the hardest thing about RA was having to ‘struggle against the pain’, ‘deal with the pain’ or ‘manage the pain’ on a daily basis. Ongoing, ‘grinding’ pain was debilitating, people couldn’t tackle problems, it sapped their energy and de-motivated them.One woman talked about the pain she had had and steeling herself against the pain to go through the pain barrier. People also said they had become used to the pain, learnt to cope with it and that their pain tolerance levels had been raised. Sometimes this was bad as they didn’t immediately notice more severe joint damage.

Take Notes About Pain Frequency Intensity And Triggers

Try keeping a diary of how you feel each day, rating your pain at different times and after different activities. Record what makes your pain feel better, and what makes it worse. Also share with your doctor what you can and cannot do because of your pain. For instance, make note of whether you can drive a car comfortably but have difficulty holding a fork. Your doctor will also want to know about any other symptoms you are experiencing, such as fever or a skin rash, which could point to another kind of arthritis.

The long-term impact to your health from arthritis varies widely from person to person and by the type and severity of arthritis. Still, a diagnosis and treatment is important for more than just your physical health its necessary for your emotional health, too. Anxiety and depression can occur with almost any chronic illness arthritis is no exception, Ruthberg says. So, if youre struggling with pain, see your doctor to figure out the source and the solution.

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Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Caused By Stress

The connection between stress and RA has been identified in numerous studies. An analysis of 16 studies, published in Arthritis Research & Therapy , found that: Stress tends to make RA symptoms worse. People with post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher risk of developing RA and other autoimmune diseases.

Skin Rashes Or Open Sores

What Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Feel Like? #osteoarthritis ...

Visible changes to the skin are occasionally associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Rashes and open sores may be painful, itchy, or burning. While these skin abnormalities frequently develop on the lower legs, they can appear anywhere on the body.

Rashes and sores that may be associated with RA can vary widely in appearance. Examples include the following:

  • Rheumatoid small-cell vasculitis10,11 can cause a rash of dark red or purple bumps on the skin. The bumps may form lesions and scab over.
  • Urticarial vasculitis10 causes hives or raised pink patches. The patches may have whitish centers. On darker skin, changes in skin color may be less noticeable, but the skin will still be raised.
  • Panniculitis10 refers to a family of conditions that cause painful red or purple lumps to develop on the lower legs. The most common type of panniculitis, erythema nodosum, may look like multiple bruises on the shins.
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum10 typically begins as small red bumps that expand into painful open sores, sometimes in a matter of days. This condition is very rare and typically affects the skin on the lower legs.
  • Infections may cause red or pink skin and eruptions that look like blisters or pimples. The affected area may ooze fluid or be crusted over.

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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

Ra Affects Every Part Of You And Your Life

There are days where my RA feels like I have sprained and injured every single joint in my body my ankles, wrists, knees, fingers, toes, ribs, shoulders and hips. There is not enough anti-inflammatory medication or a big enough heating pad to give me relief.

Then there is fatigue unrelenting fatigue all the time. I need more coffee to wake me up, and no matter how much sleep I get, I cant seem to get enough. I cant sleep my life away, and I wish I didnt need as much rest as I do. But I keep moving forward like a functioning zombie who manages to hide amongst the human race.

My rheumatologist isnt a fan of prescribing strong pain medications, but she knows me well enough to know that I am struggling. I put up with a lot when it comes to my RA symptoms and pain and most people in my life have no idea of my ordeal.

Id wish I could say I am proud of the fact that I hide having RA so well, but I am not proud of it. In fact, I wish I could speak up but speaking up changes everything.

Speaking up at least from my perspective would mean that I would be viewed as incapable at my job, as a mother, and as a human being. So, I dont and neither do others with RA because society has associated a stigma with RA, chronic illness, and pain.

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What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. This causes pain in your joints and different body parts. Primarily, RA impacts the feet and hands. But it can also affect larger joints like elbows and knees. Moreover, it can produce a variety of other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and joint stiffness.

With that said, now lets see what patients suffering from it say about what rheumatoid arthritis feels like.

Heart And Blood Vessels

What RA Feels Like

People with RA are more prone to atherosclerosis, and risk of myocardial infarction and stroke is markedly increased.Other possible complications that may arise include: pericarditis, endocarditis, left ventricular failure, valvulitis and fibrosis. Many people with RA do not experience the same chest pain that others feel when they have angina or myocardial infarction. To reduce cardiovascular risk, it is crucial to maintain optimal control of the inflammation caused by RA , and to use exercise and medications appropriately to reduce other cardiovascular risk factors such as blood lipids and blood pressure. Doctors who treat people with RA should be sensitive to cardiovascular risk when prescribing anti-inflammatory medications, and may want to consider prescribing routine use of low doses of aspirin if the gastrointestinal effects are tolerable.

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Explain The Pain Is It Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis

If opening jars becomes more difficult because of painful hands, or if climbing stairs produces pain in your knees, arthritis is often the first thing that comes to mind. The two most common forms of arthritisosteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritiscan cause similar aches and pains, but there are a few key differences between them. For example:

Onset. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage wears away. Pain occurs when bone rubs against bone. This type of arthritis pain tends to develop gradually and intermittently over several months or years.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting 27 million Americans. Many people believe its a crippling and inevitable part of growing old. But things are changing. Treatments are better, and plenty of people age well without much arthritis. If you have osteoarthritis, you can take steps to protect your joints, reduce discomfort, and improve mobility all of which are detailed in this report. If you dont have osteoarthritis, the report offers strategies for preventing it.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an inflammatory condition in which your immune system attacks the tissues in your joints. It causes pain and stiffness that worsen over several weeks or a few months. And joint pain isnt always the first sign of rheumatoid arthritissometimes it begins with flu-like symptoms of fatigue, fever, weakness, and minor joint aches.

Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Knee: Symptoms And Treatments

More than 1.3 million people in the U.S. have rheumatoid arthritis , which typically starts in the hands and fingers and can later progress to the knees. The resulting joint stiffness, pain, and swelling affecting the knees can restrict movement, potentially impacting quality of life.

To learn more about knee RA, myRAteam spoke with rheumatologist Dr. Iris Navarro-Millán, assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and a National Institutes of Health -funded rheumatology researcher specializing in knee RA.

Because knee RA shares some symptoms with knee osteoarthritis , another form of arthritis, making a diagnosis can be challenging, Dr. Navarro-Millán said. When people with RA start experiencing knee pain, we tend to jump quickly to say, You probably also have osteoarthritis. But itâs very common for with RA to have both.

Many members of myRAteam report late-stage knee pain. Ive had RA for 10 years, but only experienced pain in my knees in the last one or two years, explained one member.

Getting a correct diagnosis, however, has been frustrating for some. My doctor said I dont have RA because its in my knees, yet everything Iâve read said that RA can attack the knees, one member said. Another member added, My rheumatologist was way too quick to assume my knee pain was fibromyalgia and OA, not RA. Im getting a second opinion.

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Broken Or Brittle Bones

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a loss in bone mineral density,17,18 which is the hallmark sign of osteoporosis. In fact, osteoporosis is considered typical in people who have had rheumatoid arthritis for a long time.19

Certain medications can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and its precursor, osteopenia. For example, prednisone and other corticosteroids, which may be prescribed to treat newly diagnosed RA and RA flares, are associated with a loss of bone mineral density.20

Osteoporosis causes bones to become porous and weaker. Osteoporotic bones are:

  • More prone to breaking
  • Less suitable for joint replacement or other orthopedic surgeries

A bone break can have a negative effect on joint mechanics, even after the bone has healed, increasing the risk for osteoarthritis.

Lana’s Perspective About What Rheumatoid Arthritis Feels Like

Rheumatoid arthritis warning

RA varies from person to person and no two people develop the disease in the same way.

For some people, RA develops gradually, and for others, there is a sudden onset with no explanation. Symptom severity varies by person, and disease progression can be mild, moderate or severe. And symptoms and progression change with time.

Some people with RA are lucky enough to experience remission, a period where disease activity stops. But for most, remission doesnt occur, and they have persistent symptoms that require aggressive treatments.

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What Does Rheumatoid Pain Feel Like

A person with RA may feel intense pain in their joints during flares. This may feel like sustained pressure, a burning sensation, or a sharp pain. However, people with RA may also experience periods of remission when they feel few to no symptoms. In addition to causing pain in the joints, RA can affect the whole body.

What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Options

  • There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • To date, the goal of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce joint inflammation and pain, maximize joint function, and prevent joint destruction and deformity.
  • Early medical intervention has been shown to be important in improving outcomes.
  • Aggressive management can improve function, stop damage to joints as monitored on X-rays, and prevent work disability.
  • Optimal RA treatment involves a combination of medicines, rest, joint-strengthening exercises, joint protection, and patient education.
  • Treatment is customized according to many factors such as disease activity, types of joints involved, general health, age, and patient occupation.
  • RA treatment is most successful when there is close cooperation between the doctor, patient, and family members.

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Can Arthritis Cause Numbness

Numbness is often a symptom of nerve involvement. For instance, numbness in the arm may be related to nerve irritation in the neck. In such a situation, turning or bending the head to the involved side may increase the symptoms. For example, a pinched nerve in the right side of the neck may cause numbness in the arm and hand when a person attempts to look back over the right shoulder. If nerve irritation becomes more severe, the arm and hand may become weak. A physical examination X-rays and an MRI of the neck and electrodiagnostic tests may be useful in establishing the diagnosis.

What Are The Less Common Forms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

What a rheumatoid arthritis flair feels like

Rheumatoid arthritis can begin in less common forms. For example, it can begin with the involvement of only a single joint or a few joints. Sometimes, this can later evolve to the more common presentation of many joints on both sides of the body.

  • Rarely, the earliest symptom of rheumatoid disease is inflammation of a body area that does not even involve a joint. For example, the lining of the lungs can become inflamed to cause pleurisy many months before arthritis develops.
  • Occasionally, only a few joints are involved and the doctor may suspect another type of inflammatory arthritis. Again, this can sometimes only later evolve to become the more typical symmetrical polyarthritis by including many joints on both sides of the body.
  • The caveat is that by recognizing the early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis rheumatologists and their patients can address the disease early, thereby affording optimal outcomes for those affected.

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Measures To Reduce Bone Loss

Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis. The use of prednisone further increases the risk of bone loss, especially in postmenopausal women.

You can do the following to help minimize the bone loss associated with steroid therapy:

  • Use the lowest possible dose of glucocorticoids for the shortest possible time, when possible, to minimize bone loss.
  • Get an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D, either in the diet or by taking supplements.
  • Use medications that can reduce bone loss, including that which is caused by glucocorticoids.
  • Control rheumatoid arthritis itself with appropriate medications prescribed by your doctor.

Ra Symptoms Often Include More Than Joint Pain

Since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease, it will progress aggressively if not treated early on. According to a study published in a 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Early diagnosis and treatment of RA can avert or substantially slow progression of joint damage in up to 90 percent of patients, thereby preventing irreversible disability. All the more reason to recognize RAs pain symptoms many of which you might not associate with arthritis pain. These can include:

  • Joint pain that occurs on both sides of the body, such as both feet, ankles, wrists, or fingers

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What Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Feel Like

Lets face it, aches and pain are annoying. But thankfully, most of them are occasional and usually occur as we age. But knowing what does arthritis feel like? is important, especially if youre feeling joint pain and stiffness in different body parts. This will help you get timely treatment, as early treatment always has positive outcomes.

Did you know persistent joint pain and stiffness can be signs of rheumatoid arthritis? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , this condition affects more than 54 million adults in the United States. The symptoms of arthritis include aching, grinding, dull, or throbbing pain in joints. Continue reading as this guide will address, What does arthritis feel like? So, lets get started!

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