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Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic or long-term, disabling autoimmune disease that keeps progressing over time. An autoimmune condition is one in which the immune system (the body’s natural self-defense system) becomes disordered and starts to attack your body’s healthy tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the main way it does this is with inflammation in your joints. It causes inflammation, swelling, and pain in and around the joints and other body organs. If you have a pre-existing condition and have been experiencing joint pain recently see your doctor about it or find expert doctors online. If you live in Lahore, find expert doctors in Lahore or any city across Pakistan.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) usually affects the hands and feet initially, but it involve any joint and most often involves the same joints on both sides of the body. To develop a better understanding of RA, it might help to learn about how a normal joint functions first. 

How does a normal joint work?

A joint is the meeting place of two or more bones. Most of our joints are designed to allow the bones to move in certain directions and within certain limits. Collectively this is known as ‘range of motion’.

For instance, the knee joint is the largest and one of the most important joints in the body and one of the most complicated. It must be strong enough to support the body weight and must lock into position so you can stand up straight. In addition to this, it also acts as a hinge providing mobility so you can walk, sit, twist and turn while running or playing sports.

The end of each bone is covered with a very smooth and slippery surface called cartilage. The cartilage protects the ends of bones from erosion, allowing them to move against each other, almost without any friction. The whole joint is held in place by the synovial capsule, which contains thick fluid to protect the bones and joint. It has a tough outer layer that provides stability to the joint. Muscles attach the bones with strong cords called tendons. They anchor the muscles to the bones.

For more information about how joints work, find expert doctors online on an online doctor app. Download My live doctors, an online doctor app on your smartphone and book an online doctor appointment right away. You can find expert doctors online and get your answers from the comfort of your own home. 

Common symptoms of RA include early morning stiffness i.e. stiff joints particularly after getting up in the mornings or after a period of rest. Some people often experience fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell.

How common is RA?

According to The Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network, it is estimated that RA affects up to 1 percent of the world's population and over 1.3 million people in America. It is more common in females as compared to males.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Signs and symptoms of RA are not continuous in nature, but rather intermittent and are most prominent upon waking up in the morning. They tend to come and go. Some common symptoms of RA include:

  • pain, swelling, and stiffness in more than one joint
  • affects small joints like fingers, wrist etc.
  • symmetrical joint involvement
  • joint deformity
  • imbalance or unsteadiness when walking
  • a general feeling of being unwell
  • fever
  • loss of function and mobility
  • weight loss
  • weakness

If you have one or more of the above symptoms it is better to get evaluated to rule out the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis. For expert medical advice you can find expert doctors online. Simply download the My live doctors app on your smartphone and book an online doctor appointment. Finding expert doctors online has never been easier. 

If you live far from a medical facility or want to get a second opinion, expert doctors online are a great option to get started. You no longer have to brush away health problems due to inaccessibility. Telehealth portals like My live doctors is changing the game for patients and doctors alike. Find expert doctors online in Lahore, Karachi or any major city in Pakistan. 

Some individuals with RA develop small lumps under the skin around the affected joint. They are called rheumatoid nodules. They can sometimes be painful, but usually are not. It is a visible deformity and may limit joint function and movement. If something like this is a concern for you, take a picture of the lump and send it to your expert doctor online. Get a heads up before you go to your primary healthcare provider. 

Complications of RA

Individuals with RA have a higher likelihood of developing heart disease and obesity. Due to chronic pain and deformity they may also develop depression, anxiety and stress. Other complications may include:

  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • inflammation of the lungs, heart, blood vessels, eyes and other parts of the body
  • cervical myelopathy
  • tendon rupture
  • vasculitis
  • more prone to other infections

If you think you have RA or have been diagnosed with RA, it is important that your condition be monitored regularly. To keep you health on track, regular check-ups are integral to management. However, it can be tough to take time out and attend every follow-up. So why not find expert doctor online and schedule regular appointments online? It’s quick, convenient, and much cheaper!

Other medical conditions with joint pain and symptoms similar to RA  include gout, osteoarthritis, lupus and psoriatic arthritis. It is important to get these conditions ruled out before a definitive diagnosis of RA. 

How do you treat RA?

RA is treated according to how far the disease has progressed and how bad the symptoms are. There are a variety of painkillers that may be prescribed such as NSAIDs and steroids to reduce inflammation or DMARDs to slow the progression of disease. TNF-alpha inhibitors are a class of drugs that also improve symptoms like morning stiffness, inflammation and swelling. Physical therapy may also help in improving motion and quality of life. 

RA is a painful and chronic condition make it difficult for a person to go about their daily routine. Anyone who experiences pain and swelling in two or more joints should see a doctor or find expert doctors online so an early treatment plan can begin and reduce the risk of long-term problems. For more information please go to