Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to attack itself. This can impair multiple body systems such as the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and the lining of the joints.
– The small joints in your wrist, hands and feet are persistently swollen, stiff, or painful
– The same joints are affected on both sides of the body
RA requires a medical diagnosis but there are several symptoms you can track to better understand your condition.
– You feel fatigued or low-energy
– You are experiencing low-grade fevers
- Joint stiffness in the morning that lasts 30 minutes or longer - Difficulty breathing - Painful, tender, swollen and stiff joints that last for six weeks or longer - Itchy, dull skin - Loss of appetite - Blurry vision, dry, itchy eyes
Your primary physician or rheumatologist will perform a few tests to see if what you’re experiencing is RA.
Imaging tests like an X-ray, MRI, or Ultrasound can detect erosion in the joints and track your treatment progress. text
Blood testing will identify inflammation and blood proteins (antibodies).
Early, aggressive treatment will be recommended to stop or reduce inflammation, prevent joint damage, relieve symptoms and improve function.
Patients with permanent joint damage might find that surgery would be a beneficial option to feel more comfortable doing daily activities and improve their mobility.
Additionally, your OrthoIllinois Rheumatologist will instruct you on methods to proactively self-manage your condition after leaving their care.