Dr. Jatin Patel Discusses Seven Conditions That Can Look Like RA

If you’ve been experiencing joint pain and stiffness, it’s easy to assume that you have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating autoimmune disease that can cause pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness. But other illnesses can cause similar symptoms. Because so many conditions can cause joint pain, it’s essential to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Not sure what’s causing your pain? Dr. Jatin Patel in Roswell, GA, Founder of the Arthritis & Rheumatology Center, PC, shares seven other conditions that often present similar symptoms to rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs and Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness. It can also lead to damage to the tissues around the joints, as well as to the bones and cartilage. RA typically affects the hands, wrists, and knees, but it can also affect other body parts, including the feet, ankles, shoulders, hips, and neck.

Symptoms Of RA

The most common symptom of RA is pain and inflammation in the joints. This can cause the joints to become stiff and difficult to move. The affected joints may also feel warm to the touch.

Other symptoms of RA include fever, fatigue, and weight loss. People with RA may also experience depression and anxiety. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. People who live with the condition can also have periods of minimal symptoms and unexpected flare-ups. There is no cure for RA, but there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.

Diagnosing And Treating RA

RA is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical examination, and lab tests. Dr. Jatin Patel advocates no one test that can diagnose RA. Treatment for RA in Roswell, GA, includes medication and lifestyle changes.

Other Diseases That Present Similar Symptoms To RA

Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to those of RA. See a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms so that the correct diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment can be started.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease when the cartilage between the joints breaks down. Osteoarthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.

What sets Osteoarthritis apart from RA is that it can affect one joint at a time, whereas RA can affect multiple joints simultaneously. Osteoarthritis is also more likely to affect the hips, knees, and hands, while RA can affect any joint in the body.

Gout

Gout is arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the joints, causing inflammation and pain. Uric acid is a waste material produced when the body breaks down purines, found in foods such as meat, poultry, and seafood.

According to Dr. Jatin Patel, gout can cause sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected joint. These attacks can last for days or weeks. Gout is more likely to affect the big toe but can also affect the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon, the tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendinitis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected area. It is most commonly seen in the shoulder, elbow, knee, and Achilles tendon.

Tendinitis is usually caused by overuse or injury. Symptoms often come on gradually and are worse with activity. Treatment typically includes rest, ice, and physical therapy.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can cause widespread pain, fatigue, and sleep problems. Fibromyalgia is more common in women than men and typically affects people between 30 and 50.

People with fibromyalgia may think they have RA because the symptoms are similar, but there are critical differences between the two conditions. Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints as RA. In addition, fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease like RA. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments that can help improve symptoms.

Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and damage the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. Lupus can also cause fatigue, fever, and hair loss. Like RA, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause joint inflammation. However, lupus can also affect other organs in the body, whereas RA is limited to the joints. Lupus is also more likely to affect women and people of color than RA.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, degenerative disease of the nervous system. MS can cause many symptoms, including pain, fatigue, balance, and vision problems.MS is more likely to affect young adults than RA. It is also more likely to affect women than men. RA can cause some neurological symptoms, but MS is the more likely diagnosis if neurological symptoms are present.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by tick bites. It can cause various symptoms, including fever, chills, fatigue, and joint pain. Lyme disease is more likely to cause rash and flu-like symptoms than RA. If you live in an area where Lyme disease is familiar, you should be on the lookout for ticks.

Final Thoughts

Several conditions can cause joint pain. However, just because there is joint pain presenting does not automatically mean the diagnosis will be the same for everyone. If you are experiencing joint pain, Dr. Jatin Patel strongly recommends seeing a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Joint pain is not something that you have to live with. With the proper treatment, you can relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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