Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that not only inflames the joints, but can contribute to further deterioration of other parts of the body. If untreated or cared for improperly, patients risk erosion of the bones, painful swelling, and deformities in the hands, feet, and elsewhere. It is important to consult with a physician if you detect early symptoms of RA and ensure you have the right diagnosis.
Other illnesses share characteristics of this disease. If you are experiencing early signs of what could be RA, it is possible you could have a different condition. Ailments that mimic rheumatoid arthritis include:
Fibromyalgia – This is a common condition characterized by muscle pain and tenderness throughout the body. Fatigue, joint tenderness and pain, and stiffness, like with RA, are early warnings.
Lupus – While lupus can result in deformities similar to those afflicted by RA, this illness affects the body’s organs. Swollen joints and related pain are early signs along with fatigue.
Scleroderma – A rare disease that mainly affects women in middle age, scleroderma attacks the connective tissue and most associated with hardened skin. Early symptoms include joint pain, swollen fingers, and coldness in the fingers and toes.
Gout – Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid. Lack of hydration and certain foods can trigger the pains associated with this illness, which shares common symptoms with RA.
When you experience the first signs of what could become a serious joint illness, it’s important to leave the diagnosis work to a physician. Internet research, while informative, is not a substitute for proper exams and testing. At Bon Secours, our team of experts offer patients suffering joint pain and joint injury a full continuum of care, with programs and therapies designed to manage pain and improve their quality of life. Contact us today with your questions about what we provide.