Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: The sign first thing in the morning of the joint disease

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: The sign first thing in the morning of the joint disease

08/19/2021

Five warning signs of rheumatoid arthritis

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Considered an autoimmune condition, how can you tell the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (another form of arthritis)? The mornings could be a telling sign. According to the Mayo Clinic, waking up with stiff joints could be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. This type of joint stiffness may reappear after a period of inactivity and, in the early stages, certain joints are more likely to be affected.

For example, the smaller joints found in the fingers or toes could be affected first.

Other early indicators of the disease include tender, warm and swollen joints, as well as fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

When symptoms appear, it’s known as a flare-up, as the painful, stiff, and uncomfortable symptoms can disappear – known as remission.

Over time, more joints will be affected, such as those found in the:

  • Wrists
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Elbows
  • Hips
  • Shoulders.

“In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body,” the Mayo Clinic added.

As soon as you experience persistent discomfort or swelling in the joints, you’re advised to book a doctor’s appointment.

Medical News Today added that osteoarthritis can cause similar symptoms, such as:

  • joint pain
  • stiffness in joints
  • Restricted mobility in affected joints.

One key defining factor between rheumatoid and osteoarthritis is how long morning joint stiffness can last for.

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When a person suffers from osteoarthritis, joint stiffness tends to ease within 30 minutes of waking.

Morning joint stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, “usually lasts longer”.

To help inform a diagnosis, a doctor may need to perform a physical examination, take a medical history, and engage in diagnostic testing.

Blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis can help to confirm the condition.

The NHS listed some of the main blood tests used to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, which might include:

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Full blood count.

ESR helps to assess the levels of inflammation in the body, as does CRP, while the full blood count can be helpful in ruling out other health conditions.

While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, painful symptoms can be managed.

This can include medicine, lifestyle changes, supportive treatments and surgery.

Medical intervention might include DMARD tablets, which help slow down the progression of the disease.

“DMARDs work by blocking the effects of the chemicals released when your immune system attacks your joints,” the national health service explained.

“Methotrexate is usually the first medicine given for rheumatoid arthritis.”

However, side effects might occur, which include:

  • Feeling sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • A sore mouth
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss.

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