Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory joint condition that can occur at any age. It may present gradually or of sudden onset. It most commonly occurs in the small joints of the hands and feet but can affect any joint. It usually occurs symmetrically ie both knee joints at the same time, however this is not always the case.

It is more common where there is a close relative with the condition. It is sometimes associated with other conditions of the eyes (uveitis), skin (psoriasis) or digestive system (ulcerative colitis).

Symptoms

  • warm, swollen, painful joint
  • joint stiffness which is worse first thing in the morning or after inactivity.
  • N.B. joint stiffness associated with osteoarthritis will normally improve within 30 minutes whereas it will last much longer with RA.
  • Some patients may also experience general malaise, poor appetite & weight loss, sweating & fever

Diagnosis & Management

If you are presenting with these symptoms see your GP for  further assessment.

Your GP will examine you and take your history. They may refer you for routine blood tests or to a Rheumatologist who specialises in inflammatory joint conditions.

Useful Links

https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Rheumatoid-arthritis/Pages/Introduction.aspx – detailed information about Rheumatoid Arthritis