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What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints, which occurs when the immune system targets the body’s healthy tissues by mistake and attacks them. If you think your senior loved one has developed this form of arthritis, the Fort Myers senior care experts at Home Care Assistance want you to know what symptoms to look for to help provide him or her with the best possible treatment.

Stiffness

This symptom is most common when first waking up in the morning and after sitting for a long time. Stiffness will usually begin to subside with movement. Stiffness is also associated with osteoarthritis, which usually wears off within 30 minutes of getting up, but it can take much longer for the joints to loosen if your loved one has rheumatoid arthritis.

Tenderness

Arthritis may cause tenderness around your loved one’s joints, which occurs because the lining tissue of the joint becomes inflamed and produces excess joint fluid. The tenderness will usually be accompanied by redness, swelling, and a warm sensation around the joints.

Nodules

About 25 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis will develop nodules. Caused by pockets of fluids, these bumps are commonly found around the joints of the fingers, hands, and elbows. Although visible to the eye, the nodules may not always be painful, but your loved one may find it difficult to perform daily activities because the pressure on the nerves limits motion.

Deformity

If untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to permanent damage and deformity. Inflammatory cells can gather in the joint’s lining and form a fibrous layer of abnormal tissue, and deformation may also appear on the body as cartilage decays in the joints. Severe deformities can lead to a loss of joint function and the need for surgery.

Grinding

Once the joint cartilage has decayed, the bone is exposed and grinding occurs. This grinding, also known as crepitus, can cause discomfort in the joint and make movement more difficult. It is common to hear or feel the grinding.

If your loved one is experiencing symptoms associated with arthritis, movement in the affected joints may not be easy to accomplish. He or she may find it difficult to perform daily activities due to pain or stiffness, resulting in the need for high-quality in-home care. Get the Fort Myers home care your loved one deserves by choosing Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can help with a variety of tasks that may be challenging for a senior with arthritis, including household chores and exercise. For more information on our senior care services, call a Care Manager today at 239.449.4701 to schedule a free in-home consultation.