Talking about chikungunya and rheumatoid arthritis together is like talking about sugar and salt. We all know that these are poles apart as chikungunya is an infection caused by mosquito bites whereas rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes the joints to swell up. However, there are certain symptoms they share which may confuse you. Before that happens, read this article to find out the common links. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral infection whereas rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where the body’s own immune system mistakenly kills healthy cells and causes inflammation of joints on different parts of the body. These are two different problems but some signs and symptoms are the same. Also, the symptoms are permanent with rheumatoid arthritis but they are temporary in chikungunya. Some of these are muscle pain, joint pain, stiffness, general malaise, fever, fatigue, rashes, etc.
How to tell the difference between chikungunya and rheumatoid arthritis?
Chikungunya closely mimics rheumatoid arthritis and therefore, it is difficult to find out without conducting a medical examination. This is why doctors get tests done for both the problems to find the right cause. While rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition and has roots in family history, chikungunya is nothing but a viral infection that anyone can get after getting bitten by the female Aedes mosquito.
Rapidity of symptoms
Another important factor is that the symptoms of a viral infection like chikungunya can develop overnight. This means that you may sleep healthy but wake up with fever, joint pain, stiffness. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms develop insidiously, that is, it may take weeks for the symptoms to fully develop. The only way to prevent pain or treat pain is to take care of your joints.
Identifying the affected joint
- In both conditions, joint pain is a significant symptom and the most confusing one. A person suffers joint pain in both rheumatoid arthritis as well as chikungunya. But you can tell the difference by finding out the joint inflammation.
- Rheumatoid arthritis condition largely affects smaller joints such as feet, wrists and hands. The pain persists but inflammation is generally more in the morning time. This is a chronic condition with long-term effects.
- Chikungunya virus targets larger joints like knees and causes inflammation. You can suffer from abrupt joint inflammation which is mostly accompanied by rashes, fever, nausea, etc. The pain subsides in days or weeks.
Can chikungunya increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis?
By now, many people may believe that after getting infected with chikungunya, they may get rheumatoid arthritis sooner or later. There is no medical evidence that shows the link between chikungunya viral infection and rheumatoid arthritis. It is unclear whether the symptoms of chikungunya, mainly joint pain and inflammation may get permanent and develop into rheumatoid arthritis.
If you suffer chronic inflammation during chikungunya, it is best to consult a doctor and rule out the chances of arthritis. Controlling inflammation on time can reduce the risk of developing the rheumatic condition.
The major cause of confusion becomes the similarity in symptoms. Hence, the need of the hour is to visit and consult a doctor for the right diagnosis and timely treatment. Some diseases may take some time to be diagnosed, for the same the health practitioner may carry out various tests for correct diagnosis.
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