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An autoimmune disease that affects and inflames the joints by attacking them, rheumatoid arthritis can permanently disfigure an individual if treatment is not sought quickly and early. When an individual has rheumatoid arthritis the healthy cells in the joints of an individual are attacked by the body, which causes swelling and significant pain. Obviously, as soon as an individual feels stiffness or pain in their joints they should immediately seek treatment in case they have rheumatoid arthritis.
Generally, rheumatoid arthritis will start in the small joints, like the hands or feet. If you feel stiffness or achenes in these areas when you wake up in the morning or after resting, then you should see your doctor in case rheumatoid arthritis is the cause. Your doctor will probably order X-rays to eliminate any other diseases besides rheumatoid arthritis that might be causing the aches and pains in your joints because X-rays cannot diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, simply eliminate other possible diseases and create a baseline for the progression of the disease. If the X-rays come back clear, your doctor will want to perform the Latex test, which detects the rheumatoid factor in the blood, which helps determine if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Of course, this antibody is not always found in the blood when rheumatoid arthritis is in its early stages, however as the disease progresses the majority of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers do have a positive result for the rheumatoid factor.
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