The first symptoms of RA appear in the hands, the wrists, knees and the joints of the feet and involve inflammatory pain. This pain is felt even at rest, and can reach the neck, the jaw and the elbows. In the long-term, certain patients develop deformed fingers.
The pain felt overnight can last until the morning. The illness feels like having rusty joints. This joint rustiness in the mornings can last for several hours. The patient may also experience fever and fatigue.
OTHER MANIFESTATIONS OF ARTHRITIS
Sometimes rheumatoid nodules (para-articular swelling) appear on the skin in the area of the elbow and finger joints.
Other more severe and rare forms can affect the eyes, the lungs, the blood vessels, the nerves and the heart.
All rheumatologists agree that it is important to screen the initial symptoms so that an early diagnosis can be made. If the illness is diagnosed early enough, the treatments, while not able to provide a cure, can control the progression of the illness or even stabilize the illness in some cases.
Considering the complexity of the forms of this illness, the diagnosis is often difficult to establish. In fact, there are some benign forms that involve practically no consequences for the patient. Certain people may not suffer any particular symptoms or joint problems, and continue to lead a completely normal life.
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Last updated: 3/19/17