Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the joints due to the immune system attacking its own tissues. This arthritis causes complaints of swelling and joint pain, and the joints feel stiff.
Rheumatoid arthritis is more commonly suffered by women, especially those between the age of 40 and 60, and usually occurs symmetrically on the same joints on both sides of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can sometimes be similar to other diseases, such as osteoarthritis and Rheumatic Polymyalgia..
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes
Rheumatoid Arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disease. Although the cause of the autoimmune condition is not yet known for certain, it is suspected that the condition may have occurred due to genetic factors.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers usually have a family history with the same disease. On the other hand, doctors also think environmental factors or exposure to chemicals can trigger this condition,
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis occur due to:
- Ages, especially those aged 40 and over.
- Genetic factors.
- Gender. Men are less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis, when compared to women.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis will be different, but the most common symptoms are
Joint pain accompanying with rheumatoid arthritis is a throbbing pain and it is often felt worst in the morning or after the activity stops. Pain usually appears in the hands, feet and both knees.
Joints suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can feel rigid. In people suffering from this disease will have difficulty clenching or bending fingers completely. Such as joint pain, stiffness have been often more severe in the morning or after the sufferer stops working. This condition can last longer than 30 minutes.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, therefore, susceptible to causing damage to the joints. The coating of the joints suffered from rheumatoid arthritis will be inflamed, which can make the joints to swell and become pungent.
In the swollen joints, the capsule tissue lining the joints or so-called synovium and soft bones lining the joints will be damaged.
Inflammation of excessive synovial tissue will swell, which in the medical world is called pannus. In addition, the condition is also accompanied by the destruction of cartilage, bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
Redness of the joints
Due to the inflammation, the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis will turn red. In addition, the reddish-colored joints due to this damage indicate the appearance of joint infection. Due to the infection, the sufferer will complain of pain and difficulty moving.
Rheumatoid nodules are hard lumps that appear on the subcutaneous part (i.e. Under the skin). About 20 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience it. This nodule usually occurs in traumatized joints, such as finger and elbow joints.
Sometimes these nodules can occur elsewhere, such as the back of the heel and can cause pain.
Complaints in these joints usually start from the joints in the legs, so it can cause complaints:
- Pain in the ankle while walking on the inclines.
- Pain in the heel and shins when walking on uneven soil.
- The shape of the soles of the feet makes it difficult to wear shoes, as well as the shape of the fingernails and toenails.
The above symptoms should be treated immediately, because otherwise it will get worse and spread to other parts of the body.
Complications of rheumatoid arthritis that can occur in the sufferer, can be:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Damage to the joints.
- Widespread inflammation.
- Cervical myelopathy.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic or long-term inflammation, and it can recur after disappearing for some time. In addition to the symptoms in the joints, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers can also feel symptoms in other parts of the body, namely in the eyes in the form of dry eyes, as well as in the heart and lungs in the form of chest pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis
To determine the rheumatoid arthritis disease, after conducting an examination of the joints, the doctor will recommend blood examination in the laboratory, among which are:
- Blood sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein as a common sign of inflammation in the body
- Rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide), special markers for rheumatoid arthritis disease
If Rheumatoid factor or anti-CCP gives positive results, accompanied by increased ESRs or CRP, it can generally be confirmed that the person has rheumatoid arthritis.
In some cases, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are difficult to distinguish from other joint disorders (e.g. Gout or pseudogout). If this happens, it is not uncommon for doctors to also recommend x-ray scans or joint MRIs to ensure it.
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