Arthritis is generally term for joint inflammation. Inflammation of joint is accompanied by warmth, redness, swelling, and pain within the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is chronic type of arthritis, and besides joints, it may affect lungs, skin, eyes, nerves, heart or blood.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually develops gradually, and affects both sides of your body. This symmetry of symptoms is helpful in determine rheumatoid arthritis from other kinds of arthritis. Symptoms usually are tender swelling or thickening around the joints, mainly hands, knees and wrists, painful inflammation, contractures, etc.
Rheumatoid arthritis or RA for short is long term and chronic disorder. Symptoms are not constantly present; they may come and go, depending of each person. In some cases symptoms may be absent for a long time while in other they are constantly present.
Other parts of the body may be affected by RA, but joint are always inflamed. Joint inflammations are a key symptom of RA. Usually inflammation in the body is a body’s natural response to infection, but in cases of rheumatoid arthritis the inflammations occur for unknown reasons and inappropriately.
Symptoms of joint inflammation as a result of rheumatoid arthritis problems may be warmth and redness (joints feels warm and more pink than surrounding areas of the joint), pain (tender and sensitive feeling in the inflamed joints) stiffness (inflamed joints have limited range of movements and are harder to use, and stiffness is worse in the morning) and swelling (due to rheumatoid arthritis infection fluid enters the joint area, making it stiff and swelled).
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that affects the entire body may be various, and they have this distinctive symmetry pattern. All of body’s symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are contributed to inflammation. Symptoms of RA may be flu like feelings of malaise, fatigue, muscle aches or loss of appetite.
In a more progressed stage of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that affects various body areas may be lung involvement (due to inflammation of lung’s lining or damage to the lungs), rheumatoid bumps and nodules (painful bumps that sometimes appear under the skin, most commonly on the elbows), eye problems (although rare, it can be painful and dry eyes), throat problems (larynx or voice box joint problems) heart disorders (possible inflammation of heart lining), etc. Heart lining inflammation has no symptoms so it is only detected after rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed and patient also suffers from shortness of breath and chest pain.
In case that you have any of those symptoms and you suspect you have rheumatoid arthritis aggressive and early treatments produce best results.