What is Rheumatoid Disease?
Rheumatoid Disease, also known as Rheumatoid Arthritis, is a systemic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the body.
What are the symptoms?
Watch out for painful and swollen joints, fatigue and brain fog.
Symptoms often first appear in the hands with inflamed finger joints. Fingers and wrists swell, causing pain and stiffness.
Over time, fingers may become misshapen and bent, due to a process called ulnar drift. Nodules may appear too.
Left untreated, rheumatoid can destroy joint tissue and erode bone.
It commonly affects the hands, feet and knees, and can flare in multiple joints at once.
Rheumatoid can also affect internal organs including the heart and lungs.
How is it treated?
It is important to see a doctor immediately if you suspect you might have rheumatoid. A blood test helps to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
There is currently no cure for rheumatoid so treatments aim to slow the progression of the disease. Medications include DMARD and biologic drugs, and steroids.
You can ease pain and inflammation yourself by using warm or cold compresses. Compression gloves can relieve finger pain by reducing swelling in the hands.
If you have rheumatoid disease (also known as rheumatoid arthritis) you can find support via the Arthritis Foundation in the USA, Versus Arthritis in the UK, and in the Women with Rheumatoid Disease community.