NKC Blog - Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your body's immune system starts targeting your joint linings. Affecting joints on both sides takes over your entire working system set it apart from other types of arthritis that only take on one or two joints. Additionally, what sets rheumatoid arthritis apart from others is its ability to affect your lungs, eyes, skin, nerves, blood, and heart. 


An autoimmune disease that causes extensive damage and pain to your body identifies signs and symptoms such as exacerbations or flares. Additionally, the common signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are: 


  • Joint swelling
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of joint function
  • Deformities


Ranging from mild to severe symptoms, the impact of rheumatoid arthritis depends on the individual. The best way to control rheumatoid arthritis is to catch it at an earlier stage. 


Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis


First Stage

The first stage of rheumatoid arthritis is when your body starts attacking its tissues. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of early rheumatoid arthritis, except for stiffness early in the morning. The stiffness is reserved for your small joints such as feet, hands, and knees. The issue comes into play when the symptoms go away when you start to move around, causing you to forget the issue ever existed. On the other hand, those who do take out time to see a doctor are left with blank answers, as it is hard to pinpoint an issue with such vague symptoms. 


Second Stage

During the second stage of rheumatoid arthritis, your joints start to swell. Those who were unable to detect rheumatoid arthritis during its first stage have difficulty coping with the sudden changes in their system. Apart from joint swelling, some individuals may deal with skin rashes, inflammation of the lungs, eyes, and even your heart. Furthermore, you might see lumps on your elbows. With such exact symptoms, it is easier to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis during its second stage.


Third Stage

During the third stage, the symptoms and issues become more evident where patients see a significant impact on your life and body. The joints start to bend and deform over time, and fingers become crooked. Pressing on the nerves of these joints can cause severe pain. However, with the help of an effective treatment plan, you can control rheumatoid arthritis's intensity and pain to a certain point. The progress and impact on your body determine the effectiveness of any treatment. 


Fourth Stage

In the last stage of rheumatoid arthritis, patients who have not received any treatment are left without a joint. Fortunately, those who receive treatment before reaching the fourth stage can salvage what is left of their joints. 


Taking on a treatment plan can make your life more comfortable than before. While it is never easy to live with a disability, but you can learn to cope with the situation at hand. Once you adjust your life to match the new requirements, you can start leading your new "normal" life. Remember only with a treatment plan, routine follow-ups, and joint exams can one face the difficulties that come with rheumatoid arthritis. 


Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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