Rheumatoid arthritis is the second major type of arthritis - exceeded in number of cases only by osteoarthritis. It is a very serious ailment caused by inflammation of the joints. The pain associated with the disease is at times so severe that it almost completely disables sufferers. It affects women more often than men.
Rheumatoid arthritis advances in three stages starting with painful swelling and stiffness of the joints. In the second stage the pain aggravates and the bones and cartilage are severely affected thereby restricting the movement of the person altogether. By this time the diseases becomes chronic and just defies all treatment.
It is in your best interest to immediately consult a doctor as soon as you have pain in the joints. This means that don't wait for any other symptom appear. Also, you should never try treating the disease by taking over the counter medicines. Chances are that you may aggravate the ailment.
It is important that you ask your doctor to diagnose whether you are actually afflicted with Rheumatoid arthritis and if so, start taking the treatment that he prescribes. If you go by your doctor's advice you can save yourself a lot of damage by reducing the severity of the attack of the disease. Any delay in diagnosing and treating the disease may aggravate to an extent that you may have to undergo surgery. This will not only entail great pain, but also require huge costs of treatment.
Besides seeking a doctor's advice early, you may take general precautions like protecting your affected areas from stress of exertion. You should also try to reduce your weight if you are obese. Also contact your physiotherapist. Seek his or her advice about certain kind of exercises that may be specific to your kind of rheumatoid arthritis and take these exercises regularly as per the expert's advice.