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Symptoms Rheumatoid Arthritis - Identifying the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

joints lungs loss commonly

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systematic inflammatory disorder that usually attacks the joints, but can affects any tissues or organs. The disease often leads to the destruction of cartilage that connects the joints and stiffness in the joints. It also the cause of widespread inflammation in the lungs, the pericardial sac, pleura, and the white of the eye. However, manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis outside of the joints are rare. In fact, it affects only about 15-25% of people. While certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may not be evident, they can still affect an individual’s lifestyle. What follows is a comprehensive list of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, both inside and outside the joints. If you feel you have any of these, contact your health professional.
Joints: Rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects the joints. This form of rheumatoid arthritis is known as synovitis. It is an inflammation of the synovial membrane which lines the joints and sheaths the tendons. While rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint, it commonly manifests in the hands, feet, and cervical spine. It can cause deformity of the joint and loss of movement. Rheumatoid arthritis manifests as inflamed joints and noticeable swelling that makes movement painful.
Skin: The rheumatoid nodule is the most characteristic and prevalent feature of rheumatoid arthritis. They have their origins in the subcutaneous tissue (commonly known as the hypodermis). They are large protrusions of the skin that cause discomfort. The size of rheumatoid nodules vary, but are usually no bigger than a few centimeters in size and commonly manifest over bony areas that experience the repetition of mechanical stress such as the heel bone, the elbow, and the fingers.
Lungs: Fibrosis in the lungs is a common response to rheumatoid arthritis. Caplan’s syndrome is another manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis. Pleural effusions (an excess of fluid in the fluid-filled space surrounding the lungs) is often associated with rheumatoid arthritis, which can impair breathing.
Hearts and Blood Vessels: People with rheumatoid arthritis are prone to atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls), and the risk of heart attack or stroke noticeably increases. Other complications that may arise from rheumatoid arthritis are: pericarditis (the fiberous sac that surrounds the heart becomes inflamed), endocarditis (the inner layer of the heart becomes inflamed), left ventricular failure, fibrosis, and valvulitis.
Other: There are other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis such as dryness of the eyes and mouth, anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytosis, carpal tunnel, fatigue, low grade fever, malaise, morning stiffness, loss of appetite, weight loss, osteoporosis, and, in rare cases, lymphoma.
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about medications and treatments that will be right for you.

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