OverviewRheumatoid arthritis - a chronic systemic autoimmune disease of the connective tissue of nature, which affects mainly the small joints - arthritis develops, leading to permanent joint deformity and disruption of their function. Most often the disease begins between the ages of 35-50 years. Studies in recent years suggest a genetic predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis.
The causes of the diseaseThe causes of rheumatoid arthritis has not yet been established. It is known that the basis of pathological changes is an autoimmune connective tissue membrane damage of the joints. However, what triggers an immune response remains unclear.
SymptomsThe most characteristic manifestation is arthritis, i.e., inflammation of multiple joints. As a rule, develops bilaterally symmetrical joint disease of one or more groups - are involved joints of hands, feet, wrist, knee, neck, spinal joints. There is tenderness, swelling, stiffness, fever, skin over the joint. Often noted stiffness in the joints is particularly pronounced after a long rest. Morning stiffness of more than 1 hour is almost always indicative of arthritis. The disease is characterized by an undulating course with periods of exacerbation and remission. As the progression of developing joint deformity associated with partial destruction of joint cartilage, stretching of the tendons and joint capsule.
In most patients, rheumatoid arthritis begins gradually, manifesting fatigue, weakness, decreased appetite, weight loss and other nonspecific symptoms.
DiagnosisIf you suspect that rheumatoid arthritis, a doctor conducts a detailed questioning and examination of the patient, and then assigns additional methods, such as general and biochemical analysis of blood, determination of rheumatoid factor in blood, X-rays of affected joints, etc. In rheumatoid arthritis in the blood revealed signs of inflammation and raising the level of rheumatoid factor.
Unfortunately, from disease onset to diagnosis is an average of 9 months. The reason for this delay is often non-specific early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.