Tags: Arthritis | Rheumatoid Arthritis | Symptoms | Health | Women

Do I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis? 6 Symptoms Women Should Never Ignore

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015 10:04 AM

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints and the symptoms of the disease can be painful and debilitating. RA differs from other forms of arthritis in that the inflammation is not caused by joint wear and tear; rather the inflammation is the result of a malfunction in the immune system.

Arthritis Today reports
, "Normally, the immune system responds to injury or illness by triggering temporary inflammation. This inflammation lets you know that there's a problem and that you should treat the issue or rest the injured joint. In RA, the immune system goes awry and turns against healthy tissues. The inflammation is chronic rather than temporary."

According to Clinical Research, more than 50 million adults in the United States have some form of arthritic disease and 1.5 million adults have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Women are three times as likely to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis and here are six symptoms women should ever ignore:

1. Fatigue: Unexplained fatigue can be a hallmark symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. Generally, the tiredness is accompanied by a feeling of weakness, which can be joint specific, or an overall sense of lassitude. Dr. David Borenstein from the George Washington University Medical Center states, "RA causes inflammation, which creates heat, and it directs blood flow to parts of your body affected by arthritis, too. So RA itself uses a lot of your energy, which can make you feel tired and weak."

2. Pain and swelling in the joints. "Pain will be evident as tenderness when pressure is applied to a local area or when a joint is moved. Swelling due to a build-up of fluid in the joint cavity and thickening of joint tissue will give the joint what is often described as a 'boggy' feel," reports RheumatoidArthritis.net.

3.
Low grade fever: Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, in addition to joint pain and swelling, the disease can cause a low-grade fever. This is the body's way of trying to fight off what it has mistakenly identified as a foreign object or infection.

4. Weight loss: Rheumatoid arthritis can cause flu-like symptoms. These symptoms cause general malaise, which suppresses the appetite and can result in weight loss.

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5. Eye irritation: Some people with rheumatoid arthritis will develop inflammation in the eyes called, "scleritis." According to Healthline, "Scleritis is an inflammation of the eyes and is characterized by dryness, pain, redness, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light … if left untreated it can become serious and cause lasting damage."

6. Foot pain: While the hands are generally the first joints to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis, foot pain is also common in the early stages of the disease. "The top of the foot may become red and swollen. Joints at the base of the toes may become tender, making it painful to walk and causing the patient to shift weight to the heels and bend the toes upward while standing or walking. In some patients, the heel may also become painful," reports RheumatoidArthritis.net.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints and the symptoms of the disease can be painful and debilitating.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Symptoms, Health, Women
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