You might think that rheumatoid arthritis is what old people like your granddad get, but make no mistake because this disease affects people of any age. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints when tissues of the body are mistakenly attacked by one's own immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a progressive disease, meaning that the longer that one experiences it, the more prone the joints are for destruction. So, how can you diagnose rheumatoid arthritis early on so that you will be able to take the necessary steps so as not to aggravate your situation and reduce your suffering? There are signs and symptoms that you can watch out for so that rheumatoid arthritis doesn't catch you off guard.
- First step is to evaluate yourself to see if you experience fatigue, loss of appetite, morning stiffness (1 hour), widespread muscle aches and weakness. If so, then go see your physician.
- Then you and your doctor will discuss the symptoms that you have and in what parts of your body you feel the pain in your joints.
- If you feel pain in the joints of your spine and pelvis then your case may be that of ankylosing spondylitis, which is something that you might get genetically.
- But if your pain diagnosis is in your hands and feet, then he will suspect that you have rheumatoid arthritis, and he will order a series of tests to really make a diagnosis that you are indeed suffering from RA, or you can ask him for a referral to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in arthritis and other related diseases, because these kinds of doctors will be in the best position to diagnose you appropriately.
- Next, if RA is suspected then you will have to take several blood tests to make sure that you indeed have RA. There are specific blood tests and they are the following: a complete blood count, C-reactive protein, Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, joint ultrasound or MRI, joint x-rays, Rheumatoid Factor test and synovial fluid analysis.
In this case, information is a very important factor, and accurate information can lead to an accurate diagnosis.
Herbal remedies for joint relief for RA are also proliferating on the market. You have Boswellia, an herb that comes from a tree that is native to India, and Devil's Claw, a plant that is native to Southern Africa. These herbal remedies are some of the things that you can use to alleviate your pain. RA when it progresses might lead to other diseases like osteoarthritis. When this happens, then you need to have osteoarthritis treatment to again manage your pain levels. The best thing to do when you are sure that you have RA is just to manage the pain well and take care of yourself a little better than you used to. RA is going to be a lifelong condition that will require medication, physical therapy, and education and maybe even surgery. Take note though that early and aggressive treatment of RA will delay the destruction of your joints.