The disease, causes disability and mortality and can happen from childhood to late old age. The most common age onset is between 30 and 50 years.
Gender, genetics and family are the most important risk factors, others include heavy smoking, obesity and a history of blood transfusions.
Gender: This predominance of women with rheumatoid arthritis is mainly due to the fact that diminished immunity is a significant factor. There is a great risk that a woman will develop rheumatoid arthritis at the menopause because her ovaries will have to stopped producing hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Women before the menopause are affected three times more than men.
Genetics: Genes play a significant role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, factors are estimated to account for up to 60% of disease susceptibility.
The condition is strongly related to the presence of a protein on the surface of white blood cells called HLA-DR4.
A consultant rheumatologist will be able to treat rheumatoid arthritis, they are hospital-based doctors with specialist training in arthritis and other diseases that affect the joints. They are capable to interpret tests and may suggest more, discuss treatments, prescribe drugs, or make a referral for surgery, if it is required. If the patient undergo surgery, the rheumatologist will manage the rehabilitation by referring the patient to physiotherapists a occupational therapists.
Rheumatoid arthritis starts in different ways. Usually, it starts slowly, with intermittent pain and swelling in some joints, especially in the fingers, wrist, and feet. I almost 20 per cent of all cases, the disease start very suddenly: one day the individual is normal and the next many joints are painful, swollen, and stiff. In some people the disease starts in less typical ways. For example, it may involve only a single joint. In others, the disease comes and goes repeatedly, often over several years, before becoming persistent. Occasionally, it starts with pain stiffness around the shoulders and so mimics a condition called polymyalgia rheumatica.
There are many key symptoms that doctors look for when they are trying to identify any type of arthritis. Sometimes these symptoms are accompanied by other features, such as loss of function and a sensation of unbearable tiredness or general symptoms that affect the body as a whole.
1- Pain: Pain in a joint maybe mild, moderate, or severe, and is usually chronic.
2- Inflammation: Symptom of various type of inflammatory arthritis.
3- Swelling: Either the lining of the joint swells or fluid flows into the joint. Swelling usually indicates inflammatory arthritis.
4- Stiffness: Morning stiffness that lasts for over an hour usually indicates a form of arthritis.
There are also a list of physical examinations that could be required in order to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis:
Visual identification of the swelling, redness and structural deformity of the joints, which is a characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.
Palpation of the joints, which helps to distinguish which type of arthritis.
Pain when moving the joints.
Examinations rarely helps the diagnosis, but it does help evaluate the severity and can pinpoint problems with specific joints. As the rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints causing pain, it will limit the patient's ability to move. Household chores, writing, picking up things from the floor and personal care are examples of