Rheumatoid Arthritis is a progressive disease. It does not start at the most severe stage. Instead, it slowly progresses. It is sometimes difficult to diagnosis what stage one is in because it is under the skin. However, Dr’s. are able to roughly guess what stage it is in based on severity of symptoms. Below are the different stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis progression. No one suffers from RA the same way so you might not fit perfectly into one stage but instead you might overlap two stages.
Stage 1: The first stage. There is some small inflammation in the joints and slight swelling. You feel some joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. You think something is wrong and you first go to the Dr. to find out what. This is when the first diagnosis usually starts
Stage 2: The inflammation has progressed where there is cartilage damage. You lose slight mobility and can’t move like you used to. You start to understand how exactly this condition will affect your life in the future.
Stage 3: Even though this is just the third stage, it is now considered severe rheumatoid arthritis. The inflammation that is damaging your cartilage is now affecting the bone as well. Your constantly in pain and are probably taking a medication to help with it. Your mobility continues to be negatively affected and you may develop some signs of physical change on the outside of the affected joints.
Stage 4: At this point, the inflammatory process has stopped and the joints no longer function. The primary symptoms are pain, swelling, stiffness, and a loss of mobility. You need help with certain tasks as you can no longer do them yourself.
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