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Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms May Spark Additional Testing

Jun 20, 2008
There are similarities in the symptoms of different types of arthritis, however about 15 percent of the patients that exhibit rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in the joints, may also be affected by the ailment attacking organs in the body as well. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the joints causing destruction of the cartilage. When the disease also attacks other organs it can lead to severe pain and become disabling. Typically, blood tests are required to diagnose this disease if the patient is also presenting other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

The most common of the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms is joint pain caused by the membrane surrounding the joint becoming inflamed. While it can affect nearly every joint in the body, it most commonly attacks the smaller joints in the hands, feet and the cervical spine. Severe rheumatoid arthritis symptoms often leave patients with painful movement and can be debilitating.

Although the smaller joints are the usual target, when it attacks larger joints such as the knees, elbows and hips movement may become so painful as to be impossible. There may also be swelling in the skin surrounding the joints, accompanied by tenderness. However, in many patients many of the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms will be worse when they first get out of bed, lessening after an hour or so of painful movement.

Symptoms May Vary Among Patients

For many people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis early symptoms may also include swelling of the skin, especially around the joints, due in part to small blood vessels near the surface of the skin being affected by the disease. Those who wake up in the mornings with stiffness, swelling and severe pain that sees to lesson the longer they are awake, may be showing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and should contact their doctor for confirmation.

There are also some complications that, although considered rare, that can be devastating to the patient. Hardening of blood vessels, kidney problems and heart disease have all been attributed to this form of arthritis. Doctors recommend early diagnosis and appropriate treatment as soon as the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are noticed. About one third of the deaths in patients with rheumatoid arthritis have been attributed to heart disease.

Those suffering rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in the early stages, may not show signs of joint degeneration. However, the longer they are afflicted by this disease, the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in the joints will become more apparent in x-rays as well as in other non-blood related testing.
About the Author
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