Rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be as one of the most severe disease of joints, which has a great number of complications.
This disease affects people of different age; however it mostly affects adults above 35. Women suffer from this disease 5 times more than men. According to statistics, 1-3% of the world population are affected by this disease.
HOW TO DISTINGUISH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
It is difficult to mistake symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis with other diseases. In most cases the disease follows with the inflammation and swellings of metacarpophalangeal joints of first and third fingers in early stages.
The inflammation and swelling of wrist joint occur in addition to mentioned symptoms. One more typical sign for inflammation during rheumatoid arthritis is symmetry.
In case of inflammation of joint of the right hand, almost in all cases the same joints affected on the left hand. Rheumatoid arthritis differs from rheumatism with rebellious character, edema and joint pain that lasts for several years.
Pain reduced at night or towards morning and intensive before midday. Many patients compare this pain intensive as teeth pain.
The level of pain is reduced after noon, and it’s almost unnoticeable at evening. Besides, pain reducing after warm up or physical activity is typical for early stage of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to pain in joints of upper limbs inflammation occurs in small feet joints almost in all cases.
The disease strikes knuckle joints, and the inflammation process occurs in feet joints with the same symmetry as in hands.
The inflammation of large joints for example shoulders, knees and elbows, usually occurs after some period of time (week to month). However there is other form of the disease, which characterized by the inflammation of knee joints and shoulders or heel tendon.
Small joint have a slow condition to progression of the inflammation process, and pain occurs much more lately. Such form of arthritis affects people above 65-70.
Constant pain during rheumatoid arthritis may change with so-called syndrome of morning stiffness. Most part of patients describes this feeling as when the whole body and joints are stiff.
If rheumatoid arthritis has quite mild form of progression, stiffness disappears in 2-3 hours after patient leave the bed. If it is severe form of the disease, then stiffness may disappear only after noon or even later.
Most patients have formation of rheumatoid nodules at this stage of disease. These nodules are thick pea-size and located under crook of the arm.
In some cases such nodules may appear at feet, wrists etc. Usually they appear in small numbers (2-3), but in some cases there can be a lot. Generally rheumatoid nodules are of small size (3-4 cm in diameter), but sometimes they may be large.
Mentioned symptoms are followed with weakness, increased body temperature, chills, appetite loss, and sleep disorder. Some cases recorded sudden and dramatic weight loss.
Deformation of wrists and knuckles is possible in addition to rheumatoid arthritis progression. Occurrence of ulnar deviation is very possible. Knuckle limited motion and fingers deformations are typical for this symptom.
Also limited motion of wrist joint and painful finger extending and bending is possible. Due to blood supply disorder wrist skin become pale, dry and thin etc. Mentioned symptoms develop according to the progression of the disease.
One more important symptom of the disease is pathologic effect of other joints. Most frequent are inflammation of knees, elbows, shoulders and ankles. As for shoulder and elbows, the inflammation of these joints is mild, but makes the motion harder.
If rheumatoid arthritis occurs in knee joint, then in this case symptoms are disappointing. It caused by accumulation of pathologic liquid, which leads to stretching of joint capsule. This symptom called Baker’s cyst.
The most severe cases follow with cyst rupture due to loss of liquid, which causes shin edema and as a result acute leg pain. After the inflammation process is treated, liquid producing stops and rupture starts to recover.