July 30, 2016
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Rheumatoid Arthritis (cont.)

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What are the stages of rheumatoid arthritis?

The American College of Rheumatology has developed a system for classifying rheumatoid arthritis that is primarily based upon the X-ray appearance of the joints. This system helps medical professionals classify the severity of your rheumatoid arthritis with respect to cartilage, ligaments, and bone.

Stage I

  • No damage seen on X-rays, although there may be signs of bone thinning

Stage II

  • On X-ray, evidence of bone thinning around a joint with or without slight bone damage
  • Slight cartilage damage possible
  • Joint mobility may be limited; no joint deformities observed
  • Atrophy of adjacent muscle
  • Abnormalities of soft tissue around joint possible

Stage III

  • On X-ray, evidence of cartilage and bone damage and bone thinning around the joint
  • Joint deformity without permanent stiffening or fixation of the joint
  • Extensive muscle atrophy
  • Abnormalities of soft tissue around joint possible

Stage IV

  • On X-ray, evidence of cartilage and bone damage and osteoporosis around joint
  • Joint deformity with permanent fixation of the joint (referred to as ankylosis)
  • Extensive muscle atrophy
  • Abnormalities of soft tissue around joint possible

Rheumatologists also classify the functional status of people with rheumatoid arthritis as follows:

  • Class I: completely able to perform usual activities of daily living
  • Class II: able to perform usual self-care and work activities but limited in activities outside of work (such as playing sports, household chores)
  • Class III: able to perform usual self-care activities but limited in work and other activities
  • Class IV: limited in ability to perform usual self-care, work, and other activities
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/rheumatoid_arthritis/article.htm

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