Although the symptoms of RA can be painful, there are many treatments and therapies to help you take your life back. RA is caused by an abnormality in the immune system that turns the body against itself. Although there isn’t an exact known cause, RA may be influenced by genetic or environmental factors. The most common symptoms of RA are swelling, pain, and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis support joints.
RA can affect any of the joints in the body, including those in the hands, feet, knees, ankles, wrists and elbows. Treatment can help make RA more manageable by addressing symptoms and protecting against long-term damage. Treatments include medications, surgery and lifestyle changes. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can make it difficult to live a full, healthy life. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage these symptoms — from medications to lifestyle changes. Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are more effective than ever. Depending on your individual situation, you can find an RA medication that minimizes the pain, swelling and long-term damage of the disease.
Getting a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis can be scary, but you don’t have to feel alone during this time. Care and support are available, no matter where you live or what your specific needs are. 5 million Americans are living with RA. Join together and find help in your battle by learning about your treatment options or attending a support group.
We’re a team of healthcare writers and professionals who are committed to helping people with rheumatoid arthritis live full, happy lives despite their diagnosis. A rheumatoid arhtirtis diagnosis is based on several criteria including physical symptoms, family and medical history, and blood and other diagnostic tests. The rheumatologist will work with the patient and the patient’s primary care physician to reach a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and provide treatment. To reach a diagnosis, physicians follow a set procedure looking for multiple criteria, rather than one individual test.
This includes examining physical symptoms, looking at family and medical history, and performing blood and other diagnostic tests. Some cases may be easier to diagnose than others, especially in the early stages of developing symptoms when symptoms may be less clear. Doctors work hard to ensure they’ve looked at all possibilities and that their examination and testing results are consistent with most cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis has a clear set of early signs and symptoms that lead doctors to consider it as a diagnosis. If these symptoms have been a concern for more than six consecutive weeks, doctors may consider these as symptoms specific to rheumatoid arthritis as opposed to other types of arthritis, like osteoarthritis.
Doctors may also look for and ask about symptoms like fatigue, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, and even feelings of depression and malaise. A full physical examination helps doctors find these symptoms and look at joints for tenderness, swelling, soreness, warmth, and redness. They ask about difficulties moving joints and decreases in range of motion. Symptoms may come and go but typically, they do not. The patient’s medical history and family history are important factors in helping to reach a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. However, if there is a family history of the disease, the risk of another family member developing rheumatoid arthritis increases. Therefore, genetics are a contributing factor in addition to other factors.
Depending on each patient’s unique set of answers, it can help doctors identify factors that lead to a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. One of the most important and helpful criteria in reaching a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis is the blood test to identify a specific set of antibodies that are known triggers of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. There are multiple blood tests that can be performed in the diagnosis process. Rheumatoid factor is a type of antibody found in the majority of rheumatoid arthritis patients. If a patient tests positive for rheumatoid factor it helps to reach a diagnosis, but its presence doesn’t confirm it.