Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease in Australia. People with rheumatoid arthritis experience inflammation that affects their whole body. In particular, it causes pain in joints of the wrist, hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men. The condition usually first occurs between the ages of 40 and 50 years.
The most common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is joints that are swollen, painful and stiff. This particularly affects the wrists, fingers and toes. Other joints including the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles and neck may also be affected.
Typical rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:
Early diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is important. Left untreated it can cause damage to joints and organs in the long term. Diagnosis is usually made based on persistent symptoms and a blood test.
A typical assessment includes:
Currently, Rheumatoid Arthritis does not have a cure. Good management of the condition is possible with medications and joint protection strategies. These include:
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