Rheumatoid Arthritis Hands
If a person notices that the pain and swelling in their finger joints have become persistent, they may be dealing with the common initial symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. seronegative arthritis For sufferers of this chronic disorder, pain in the small joints of the hands is the typical first sign of this autoimmune disease. This type of arthritis, in addition, occurs when the immune system attacks the lining of the joints by mistake—resulting in the inflammation of the synovium (the lining of the membranes that cover the joints) which inevitably penetrates and damages the bone and the cartilage with the swollen joint. Eventually, connective tissues (such as ligaments and tendons) are affected which can lead to joint deformity and bone degeneration. This inflammatory disease can also affect the entire body with fatigue and fever, aside from triggering joint pain.
Women are two to three times more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than men, and this inflammatory disease generally strikes females ages 40 to 60 years old.
Joint problems (that include pain, swelling and stiffness) usually begin in the small joints of the hands, wrists, feet and ankles, and gradually affect the jaw, neck, shoulders, elbows, knees and hips—often involving both sides of the body. As the diseaseprogresses, episodes of the symptoms may be sporadic and the severity of the attacks may vary. It is recommended that a sufferer ask for medical help if the occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis causes frequent discomfort symmetrically in the same joints on both sides of the body.
A physician or rheumatologist (i.e. a medical expert on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that afflict the connective tissues of the body) might perform a blood exam to analyze the body’s inflammatory process. He would also evaluate a patient’s medical history to be able to make a diagnosis. Although there is no decisive test or symptom that singles out rheumatoid arthritis, a clinical exam supplemented by an assessment of a patient’s medical records can help confirm the presence of the autoimmune disease in a patient. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative type of arthritis that attacks the joints, a blood test can provide evidence pointing at an immune system dysfunction.
Even if there is no cure for this condition at present, no one has to put up with the agony and aggravation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, rheumatoid arthritis treatment options that significantly reduce joint pain and inflammation and provide great relief to sufferers have been promising in the past several decades. A rheumatologist may initially recommend cortisone injections to immediately get the disease under control and a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug as maintenance medicine to manage the symptoms in the long term.
It will benefit sufferers to work with a rheumatologist so that a specialist can help them determine the best, among a variety, of safe and effective treatment strategies that would let them control and manage the symptoms and allow them to lead a more satisfying life.
Making a few lifestyle changes in daily activities—such as techniques that don’t overstress the joints—can also help a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer alleviate joint problems on their own.