Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects over one million people in the United States, and new patients are being diagnosed every year. For that reason, detecting this painful condition as early as possible is the best way to ensure that you can receive the most effective treatment available to slow the progression of this crippling disease.
While it’s a very common condition, Rheumatoid Arthritis is similar to other diseases, and often shares symptoms with them. This means that it can be tricky to diagnose it correctly. There are, however, a few specific symptoms that RA uses to distinguish itself. Early detection is crucial for treatment and prevention. Contact your primary care Physician or Chiropractor immediately if you notice any of the following warning signs:
STIFFNESS AND SORENESS
Waking up with stiffness and soreness (especially in your hands and wrists) is one of the early signs of RA that’s frequently ignored or mistaken for something else. Stiffness or pain can be the result of several other conditions, including heart disease, so take action if your hands start to swell up for no good reason.
TENDERNESS OR PAIN IN JOINTS
Tenderness or pain in your joints. While this is usually noticed in the wrists, hands, or fingers, pressure can be felt in other joints as well. A good tip-off for RA that most sufferers notice is a symmetry to their pain; if the second knuckle on your right hand hurts, and you begin to suffer from pain in that joint on your left, you may be dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
FATIGUE OR FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS
You may experience fatigue or flu-like symptoms. As with many chronic diseases, Rheumatoid Arthritis is painful which can sap your strength and make you tired. Many people mistakenly believe that feeling tired and weak is just a part of growing older. This is absolutely not true. As a matter of fact, this is a symptom which should never be ignored.
Rheumatoid nodules are small lumps which form under the skin, usually in areas that are pressed or rubbed a lot. This is a physically noticeable symptom that is often associated with RA and aging. While unsightly, they are usually considered to be harmless, unless they form in the heart or lungs. For this reason, it’s recommended that you contact your primary care Physician immediately if you begin to have difficulty breathing.
After having read this list of warning signs, it’s easy to see how the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis could easily be overlooked or dismissed as something else. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to mention them on your next visit to the Physician or Chiropractor. Remember that early detection of RA can significantly slow down the progression of this disease.
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