Arthritis symptoms: Dry mouth, itchy eyes – 16 painful signs of early rheumatoid arthritis

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Arthritis affects more than 10 million people in the UK, according to the NHS. But there could be plenty of other people across the country that don’t know they’re at risk. It’s crucial that everyone recognises the early warning signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

Almost nine million people have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, whereas there are about 400,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of auto-immune condition, whereby the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the cells lining joints.

Left untreated, it can lead to permanent joint damage, cardiovascular disease, and widespread inflammation.

READ MORE: Arthritis diet: Three fruits that can be ‘pain triggers’

“Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of joints,” it said.

“Rheumatoid arthritis tends to begin slowly with minor symptoms that come and go, usually on both sides of the body, and progress over a period of weeks or months.

“Symptoms of this chronic disease vary from person to person and can change from day to day.

“Bouts of disease activity are called flare-ups, and inactive periods are called remission.”

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