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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

WebMD 5: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is perhaps the most common inflammatory arthritis in the world, says Gary S. Firestein, MD, professor of medicine, dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. In the United States, an estimated 1.3 million people have the disease, and it affects two to three times as many women as men. And RA may be on the rise in women, according to a 2010 Mayo Clinic study. After decades of decline, the incidence...

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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:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 08, 2013
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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