Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that affects the joints, muscles, ligaments and soft tissue. It is an inflammatory condition that is characterised by pain, swelling and weakness. It can affect any part of the body, but commonly begins in the small joints of the hands and/or feet. RA often affects both sides of the body in the same way, but this is not always the case.
If you are feeling fatigued, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists has produced a useful, practical guide on how to conserve your energy. You may also find these three short videos useful which give advice and tips on managing your daily life when you tire easily, or have aches and pains.
If you notice swelling and pain in your joint(s) which feel warm to the touch, you should contact your GP, who may refer you to a Rheumatologist. Early intervention is key to successful treatment, so do not delay in seeking help.
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If your GP has referred you to a Consultant Rheumatologist, they will conduct thorough investigations to decide if you have rheumatoid arthritis and what treatment you need. They may refer you on to other services, such as:
If you think you need to see a Rheumatologist, then please make an appointment with your GP in order to be referred.