Early RA or Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory progressive disease. Early detection is key as RA can lead to joint destruction and disability. Clinical and laboratory evidence can help determine prognosis.
What is Early RA?
The initial presenting features of early RA do not substantially differ from other inflammatory arthritis. So prior to a definite diagnosis patients with early RA are usually classified as undifferentiated arthritis which difficultly can be discriminated from other inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect articular and extra-articular structures which, in turn, can result in pain, disability, and mortality. Early RA can be caused by a combination of genetics, hormones, and environmental factors. Early RA is regarded as patients with a symptom duration of less than three months. Signs of Early RA can include:
- Slight Fever
- Weight Loss
- Stiffness in one or two small joints, often fingers
- Joint Tenderness, typically affecting hands and feet
- Joint Pain found in fingers, wrists and feet
- Joint Swelling in hands and/or feet
- Joint Redness caused by inflammation, giving them a red appearance
- Joint Warmth which can be present before redness or swelling occurs
- Numbness in hands and/or feet
- Tingling in hands and/or feet
- Decrease in range of motion such as trouble with bending wrists
- Joints affected on both side. It is common for people affected by RA to experience symptoms in the same joints on both sides of the body. While this symmetry is typical, it is not the case for everyone with the condition.
What is the Importance of Early Detection?
Identification of RA at initial presentation and treatment at earlier stage can affect disease course, prevent the development of joint erosions or retard progression of erosive disease. Early diagnosis and treatment may affect disease outcomes even to a remission state. You can get rheumatoid arthritis at any age, but it’s most likely to show up between ages 30 and 50. When it starts between ages 60 and 65, it’s called elderly-onset RA or late-onset RA. Even though RA gets more common as you get older, people who get RA later in life only make up about one-third of all people with the disease.
These are just some things to look out for when it comes to Early RA. If you think you might showing signs of Early RA contact us today with the link below to schedule an appointment with our doctors!