Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition associated with severe pain and inflammation of various joints in the body. The symptoms can turn serious to make even the simplest of daily activities so hard. Several factors come into play when deciding the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, and age and sex are two of the important factors. Rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to occur in older adults than in younger people. Also, women are more prone to developing the condition than men.
In this article, we look at the symptoms of RA in women and how they vary in different stages of life.
What Are The Symptoms Of RA In Women?
When compared to men, women develop RA at a younger age. The symptoms can begin to appear when they are between 30 and 50 years of age. Here are common areas affected when women develop RA.
Pain and stiffness of joints are the most common symptoms of RA in women. RA is a symmetrical condition that affects both sides of the body and symptoms affecting joints usually start from smaller peripheral joints including the toes and fingers.
There isn’t anything unusual in feeling stiffness in the joints of the toes, ankle, knees, or elbow in the mornings but if they last more than 30 minutes, it could be a sign of RA.
Eyes And Mouth
People with RA may experience irritation and dryness in the eyes and mouth. Eye irritation and dryness could lead to vision changes and light sensitivity. The irritation of the mouth could also affect gums and put you at the risk of infection.
Rheumatoid nodules, firm lumps underneath the skin may develop in about 20 percent of the women with RA. They tend to develop in areas where there is pressure on the skin.
Lungs And Heart
RA could lead to inflammation or scarring of the lungs resulting in breathing difficulties. RA could also cause inflammation of the heart and blood vessels leading to pain of the chest or fever.
Link Between Hormone Levels And RA Risk
The onset of RA in women is linked to the hormonal levels in their body. Hormones, estrogen, androgens and progesterone are known to influence RA risk.
Obesity and habits like smoking are known to increase the risk of RA. Maintain healthy body weight and avoid habits like smoking to prevent developing RA or to keep its symptoms under check if you already suffer from RA.