Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune, inflammatory condition. Learn about common symptoms, how it manifests and how you test rheumatoid arthritis treat it.
5 million adults in the United States with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis usually develops between 30 and 50 years of age, but it can develop in anyone at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis affects three times more women than men. The precise cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known.
Despite that fact, there are certain factors that increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis or that may trigger the disease in an individual. The disease is most likely to develop in a person with susceptibility or risk factors when they are exposed to something that initiates or triggers the autoimmune and inflammatory processes. Common signs of rheumatoid arthritis in the hand. There are certain characteristics and physical symptoms that point to rheumatoid arthritis.
Some of them are present early on, while others develop over time. One large joint may be initially involved, with the discomfort then moving to another. It may even seem to come and go early in the disease course. As the disease progresses, most people with rheumatoid arthritis have pain and inflammation in joints of the arms and legs.
Typically, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms develop insidiously or gradually. In fact, symptoms may not be alarming at first, and you might feel inclined to wait before consulting a doctor. For example, fatigue or low-grade fever may precede the significant joint pain and stiffness that eventually prompts you to get checked out. Clearly, joint symptoms are the most recognized issues associated with rheumatoid arthritis. But there is a host of other problems that can develop, depending on which tissues in the body become inflamed. Are Polyarthritis, Inflammatory, and Rheumatoid Arthritis the Same?
It is a well-stated and accepted medical fact that early diagnosis and early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is imperative. There is a «window of opportunity» that offers the best chance to bring rheumatoid arthritis under control so that disease progression can be slowed and permanent joint damage prevented. Often, joint damage occurs within the first two years following the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. What complicates matters is that no two cases of rheumatoid arthritis are exactly alike, and the disease course is unpredictable. Some patients experience a lot of pain, even if their X-rays don’t reveal evidence consistent with severe joint damage. Some patients have evidence of severe joint damage on X-ray, but do not experience a lot of pain. How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?
Another blood test that is an important part of the diagnostic process for rheumatoid arthritis is the anti-CCP test. An anti-CCP test can detect autoantibodies against citrullinated proteins that have an extremely high specificity for rheumatoid arthritis. Its high specificity, around 90 percent, is why the anti-CCP test is relevant. In other words, anti-CCP antibodies have not been found at a significant frequency in other diseases. What Is the Anti-CCP Test? Ruling out the other conditions is part of the diagnostic process for rheumatoid arthritis as well. If you look back a few decades, you will find that a conservative approach to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis was favored.