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Rheumatoid Arthritis - When to Call a Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Sudden, unexplained swelling and pain in any joint or joints.
  • Joint pain associated with a fever or rash.
  • Pain that is so severe that you cannot use the joint.
  • Back or neck pain along with weakness in your arms or legs.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control.

Call your doctor within the next few days if you have:

Recommended Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hip Rheumatoid Arthritis

About 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This chronic inflammatory arthritis affects two to three times as many women as men. Although RA is most commonly associated with joints of the hands and wrists, it can also affect larger joints, such as the hips, knees, and shoulders. Symptoms of hip arthritis may occur later than those from RA affecting smaller joints.

Read the Hip Rheumatoid Arthritis article > >

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. It is reasonable to try home treatment for mild joint pain and stiffness. If there is no improvement after 6 weeks, or if any other symptoms are present, call your doctor.

Early treatment can slow and sometimes prevent significant joint damage. So if you have symptoms similar to rheumatoid arthritis, see your doctor to find out if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Early diagnosis and treatment allows for possible reduction of joint pain, slows joint destruction, and reduces the chance of permanent disability.

Who to see

Early arthritis symptoms can be diagnosed by:

Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated by:

  • A rheumatologist.
  • A family medicine doctor or an internist who consults with a rheumatologist.

Supportive treatment can be provided by:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 06, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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