Find out what living with rheumatoid arthritis really feels like.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can affect joints throughout the body as well as cause damage to the eyes, heart, skin, and blood vessels. There are different types of arthritis, and here at Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Chase offers different ways to treat your arthritis depending on the type and severity. Here are the warning signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA),
- Stiffness: One of the most common symptoms of RA, this stiffness can make you feel as if the joints aren’t as easily mobile as they used to be, especially in the morning. As you begin to move around in the morning, you may notice the joints loosening up a bit within a couple of hours.
- Swelling: Fluid accumulation within the joints can also lead to puffiness, swelling, and tenderness in and around the joints.
- Pain: Inflamed joints can really hurt, even when you’re not in motion.
- Warmth: It’s also natural for affected joints to be red and warm to the touch due to inflammation.
These symptoms most commonly occur in the joints of the hands; however, RA can also affect the:
Symptoms are often symmetrical, meaning that they affect the same joints on both sides of the body. Along with joint problems, you may also experience muscle aches, fatigue, and depression. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of RA, it’s important that you turn to our Saint Thomas orthopedic doctor for an immediate consultation. Since symptoms usually appear gradually over time, it’s natural for you to not immediately notice symptoms until you’ve possibly had RA for a year or more.
How is RA diagnosed?
When you come in for an evaluation, blood tests and x-rays may be performed to check for the presence of an autoimmune disorder and joint damage. Since symptoms often come and go, you may not be experiencing a flare-up during your consultation. That’s okay; we can still ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing and perform the proper tests to rule out other disorders and illnesses that can mirror symptoms of RA.
Need care? Give us a call
Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has offices in St. Croix and St. Thomas to ensure that the care you receive is never far away. If you are experiencing signs of rheumatoid arthritis, call one of our offices today for a comprehensive evaluation. For St. Croix, dial (340) 692-5000, and for St. Thomas, dial (340) 714-2845.