Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability. It is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It can also affect other organs.The nagging pains and physical limitations of the more than 100 forms of arthritis are common to millions of people.
It is a disabling and painful inflammatory condition, which can lead to substantial loss of mobility due to pain and joint destruction. RA remains a serious disease, and one that can vary widely in symptoms and outcomes.
In addition, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have fatigue, occasional fevers, and a general sense of not feeling well. If the inflammation is not slowed or stopped, it can damage the affected joints and other tissues. It is a systemic, disease which means that it can affect the whole body and internal organs (although this is not the case for everyone with RA) such as the lungs, heart and eyes.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive and disabling auto-immune disease affecting 0.8% of the UK adult population. The immune system is a complex organization of cells and antibodies designed normally to “seek and destroy” invaders of the body, particularly infections. The name is derived from the Greek rheumatos meaning “flowing”, the suffix – oid meaning “in the shape of”, arthr meaning “joint” and the suffix – itis , a “condition involving inflammation”. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) progresses in three stages.
Sometimes these symptoms make even the simplest activities – such as opening a jar, typing or taking a walk – difficult to manage. Many of these new treatments have emerged in the last 10 years because of exciting and rapidly advancing research into the fundamentals of inflammation. The application of classification systems based on qualifying symptom criteria or on decision-tree methodology also aids in establishing a diagnosis.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The comman causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis include the following :
- Some physicians and scientists believe that RA is triggered by a kind of infection.
- Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, pregnancy may improve the disease , and the disease may flare after a pregnancy.
- In general, higher intakes of protein and caffeine and lower intakes of fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C increase the risk of Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Many researchers believe that something must occur to trigger rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to the disease. This may be an infectious agent such as a virus or bacterium.
- Breastfeeding may also aggravate the disease.
- Contraceptive use may alter a person’s likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some sign and symptoms related to Rheumatoid Arthritis are as follows :
- Rash (rash that suddenly shows up and suddenly disappears).
- Stiffness in the morning or after a nap.
- Swelling of lymph nodes: This sign may occur in children with systemic JRA.
- Symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, and fever may accompany early rheumatoid arthritis.
- Sore wrist, finger, knees, or feet.
- Children may have symptoms often or rarely.
- Extreme clumsiness.
- Morning stiffness. Joint stiffness may develop after long periods of sleeping or sitting and lasts at least 60 minutes and often up to several hours.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Here is the list of the methods for treating Rheumatoid Arthritis :
- Local heat to relax muscle tension and mental tension. Heat lamps, heated pads and hot water bottles can all help specific pains.
- Apply anti-inflammatory creams to the achy parts and add another gentle massage to rub it in.
- These medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), reduce pain and swelling.
- Warm baths also relax muscles. Add a few drops of an aromatherapy oil, such as lavender, to help your mind relax, too.
- An appropriate physical therapy program is essential in the management of any type of arthritis.
- If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it is important to make sure you have adequate rest and exercise and find a balance between the two.