Rheumatoid Arthritis In Saginaw, MI
Rheumatoid arthritis, abbreviated RA, is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and damage. In some instances, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than just the joints and can damage several body systems, including the blood vessels, skin, eyes, and heart.
As is the case with other autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis develops when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body organs and tissues. However, unlike osteoarthritis that causes wear and tear of the joints, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, leading to severe and painful swelling. If left unchecked, this inflammation may eventually deteriorate into bone erosion and joint deformity.
Unaddressed rheumatoid arthritis can also cause dry eyes and mouth, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, lung problems, and heart disease.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include joint pain, joint swelling, joint stiffness, fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. These symptoms typically show up during periods referred to as flares or exacerbations. During times of remission, the symptoms disappear entirely.
Early signs of rheumatoid arthritis are typically mild and may be easy to miss. Therefore, we highly advise that you keep track of any symptoms you’re experiencing and check these with our doctors in Saginaw, MI, for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis usually involves multiple tests and various diagnostic tools. To diagnose RA, our doctors ask about your medical history, family history and also perform a physical exam. The physical exam focuses on testing your reflexes, examining your joint function and range of motion, and looking for swelling and tenderness.
Various tests, including blood tests, antibodies tests, x-rays, and MRI scans, may also be used in the testing and diagnosis phase.
There’s no single cure for rheumatoid arthritis. However, there exist various ways of managing the condition. Our doctors near you may recommend medications, e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids, specific forms of exercise, home remedies, e.g., using ice packs and cold compresses, and dietary changes to reduce the frequency and severity of flares.
Our doctors work tirelessly to determine the treatment that best corresponds to the patient’s needs.
If you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis in Saginaw, MI, and need help managing the condition, contact MI Health Clinic today.