Do you have any annoying aches and pains? Maybe they are just signs of age or symptoms of arthritis. Here is how to say it.
The differences between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Joint pain, swelling, stiffness and joint pain: all are classic symptoms of arthritis. However, there are some silent early signs that disguise themselves as insignificant, but they really indicate the onset of arthritis. Do you know what to look for?
First, it is important to understand the difference between the two main types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a concern for all ages (this explains why millennials should be especially concerned with rheumatoid arthritis). This autoimmune disease causes an inflammation that attacks the joints, causing swelling, tenderness, pain and limited mobility. RA can also target the organs.
Osteoarthritis (OA) has symptoms similar to stiffness and joint pain in RA, but it is due to joint wear. Typically, OA develops later in life and symptoms are limited to joints.
Rheumatologist Arundathi Jayatilleke MD, is an assistant professor in the Rheumatology division at Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia. We ask you to tell us what early signs of RA you should consider.
Fatigue is usually one of the first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It can start weeks or months before other symptoms appear, and is usually accompanied by “not feeling well” or mild depression. “It’s just a general feeling of not having much energy,” says Dr. Jayatilleke, “As if you had a virus or a flu.” Sometimes this is just a reaction to high levels of inflammation in your body, but sometimes it could indicate an underlying problem associated with RA. “Sometimes, in RA, anemia occurs,” says Dr. Jayatilleke, “so that can contribute to fatigue. It could be something collected in a blood test. “
If you have a persistent low-grade fever, accompanied by some of the other early symptoms of RA, this could indicate the onset of the disease. “It’s usually not a high or strong fever, but they will feel a little warmer,” explains Dr. Jayatilleke. Unexplained fever, especially if it persists, is a reason to seek medical attention, she says.
Poor appetite and weight loss.
“Having an uncontrolled inflammation can suppress appetite,” says Dr. Jayatilleke. “Usually, weight loss is not very drastic, but patients may notice that they do not have enough appetite to eat and therefore begin to lose weight.” And there is another reason why an early RA can cause some weight loss. Because inflammation in your body increases your metabolic rate, you burn calories more easily. (Be careful with foods that may contribute to the inflammation of RA).
Dry eyes and mouth
Eye problems are a fairly common side effect of RA, and symptoms may appear before the classic symptoms of arthritis appear. RA can cause the surface of the eye to swell (episcleritis). It is usually only a slight redness and irritation at first.
Another ocular symptom of RA may be a reduced tear fluid, called Sjögren’s syndrome. Dr. Jayatilleke says that “people will notice that they have a burning sensation in their eyes or that they feel that there is some dust stuck. They don’t produce so much tear fluid. “Saliva production can decrease just like other body fluids.
Check out these other causes of red eyes and how to treat them.
“Many people with RA experience morning stiffness: when they wake up in the morning they feel they can’t move,” says Dr. Jayatilleke. “And some people do not realize that this is a sign of arthritis. They think this is part of aging. ” Lack of movement causes the joint to grip; Stiffness can also occur after napping or sitting.
Another of the early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is stiffness in the minor joints that is not caused by activity. Dr. Jayatilleke explains that this usually begins in small joints, perhaps in the hands or wrists, and then advances to the other joints. There may also be mild inflammation of the joints. In addition to consulting your doctor, you can find home remedies that help with RA. Stiffness can also interfere with sleep.
One of the most surprising symptoms of early rheumatoid arthritis is chest pain, although there are other conditions that can trigger chest pain, which are not a heart attack. Dr. Jayatilleke explains: “Some patients with RA swell the lining of the lungs, so it hurts when you breathe deeply,” he says. However, she points out that this is not a very common early sign. More often it comes on after other symptoms.
Occasionally, the lining of the heart may become inflamed. Any unexplained chest pain can be serious: see a doctor immediately if you experience them.
After the first symptoms, more classic symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis will appear, although they may be the first to get your attention. Swollen joints can put pressure on the nerves, causing numbness and tingling. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the nerves in the wrist and is commonly associated with RA. You may also notice cracking or squeaking noises when moving inflamed joints.
Joint inflammation can also damage tendons and ligaments, reducing their range of motion. Eventually, you may not be able to bend or straighten your limbs or back, although exercise and physical therapy may help. Here are some suggestions to fight the pain of arthritis.
Because osteoarthritis is caused by wear, damage is located in your joints. The first symptoms of OA are usually the most classic arthritis problems. Here’s how to protect your knees from unnecessary damage.
Sensation of grid and bone spurs.
The spongy cartilage in your joints cushions the bones when you bend, move, walk and grab things. As the cartilage wears out, the bones can start to scratch and grind against each other, causing pain. Worn cartilage can also stimulate the growth of bone spurs, which could deform the joints.
“People will often report this feeling of cracking or bursting, a kind of snapping in the knees or cracking in the joints,” reports Dr. Jayatilleke. This is also caused by worn cartilage.
Swollen joints and stiffness.
The inflammation of the joint in the OA is caused by excess synovial fluid, the lubricating fluid in your joints. Again, this is not usually painful, but it can limit the range of motion of the affected joints, such as fingers or wrist. Read more about how OA addresses your joints.
Pain caused by activity.
WAYHOME STUDIO / SHUTTERSTOCK “People with OA generally find that their pain worsens with activity and improves with rest,” says Dr. Jayatilleke, “Unlike people with RA who find that their stiffness is worse in the morning.” .
Does popping my joints or knee pain mean that I will develop arthritis?
“Everyone asks that question!” Says Dr. Jayatilleke. “If there is no pain, then we usually tell people not to worry.” Crunching the knuckles can drive people crazy, but it won’t cause arthritis. And there is also no definitive relationship between knee pain and the development of arthritis in the future.
Seeking medical help early
Early detection allows you to seek expert treatment before. (If you don’t have a primary care doctor, here we explain how to choose a good one). Early intervention can help prevent joint damage in the case of OA, but early detection of RA is vital. “The longer you have untreated inflammation, the more effect it will have on your entire system,” explains Dr. Jayatilleke. “There is evidence that untreated inflammation can lead to a risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, which is very serious. It is important to make sure that people who have persistent symptoms are not ignoring things that could be signs of a bigger systemic problem like RA, “he says.