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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment

Have you ever woken up with stiff joints? Do you struggle with moving and doing your daily tasks?

When this happens to you, visit your doctor right away. It may be a sign that you have rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakes your tissues as a bacteria or virus. It can affect your joints, heart, and lungs. When left unattended, this disease can cause permanent disability.

How do you know if you have RA?

At the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, you might experience stiffness or swelling in your fingers and toes. These flare-ups last a few days or weeks, and then you’ll wake up as if nothing happened.

Eventually, the disease will affect larger joints like the hips, knees, and shoulders. The pain will make it difficult for you to move and do daily activities like working, changing clothes, and eating. According to the John Hopkins Arthritis Center, 60% of patients with RA are unable to work ten years after the onset of the disease.

Other symptoms experienced by RA patients include:

doctors looking at xray

The causes and complications of RA

Medical experts have yet to determine the cause of RA. However, risk factors like age, environment, and lifestyle could accelerate the onset of the disease. Women are also most likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than men.

Being diagnosed with RA means living with physical and social consequences that can affect your quality of life:

How do you treat and manage rheumatoid arthritis?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for RA. Doctors may prescribe a combination of medication and lifestyle changes to reduce the intensity of the disease.

You can manage the disease by:

RA is a cruel disease that restricts your movement. Although there is no cure, medication and lifestyle changes can minimize the pain and let your live your healthy life.

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