Video Q & A:

Symptoms, Tests, & Diagnosis

Question:

How do I know if I have RA?

Expert:   Harry D. Fischer, MD, Chief of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Medical Center New York »

Rheumatoid arthritis is distinct from osteoarthritis in several important ways. Watch this to learn about the specific signs.

Transcript: If your recurring joint pain is accompanied by fatigue, fever and appetite loss, there’s a chance you might have RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. Even though RA begins in the JOINTS, the disease affects the entire body. That’s because it’s triggered by an overactive immune system—instead of attacking foreign bacteria, it’s attacking the healthy tissues that line the joints. That attack eventually leads to joint damage. RA patients will experience morning joint stiffness for AT LEAST an hour. Their joints will be warm, swollen and tender to the touch, AND SOMETIMES reddened. The small joints will be the first affected. When it hits the fingers, it appears in the base knuckles, not in the fingerTIPS, where osteoarthritis is more common. And, unlike OA, RA usually develops in joints on both sides of the body instead of just one. Want more information? Head to your doctor for a diagnosis… and check out additional videos in this series. More »

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