Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks more than just one joint. In some cases it also damages our skin, lungs, heart and eyes. It is an auto immune disorder i.e. our body’s immune system mistakenly attacks our own body tissues and joints. Rheumatoid arthritis targets our body’s joint lining and makes it thick. Rheumatoid arthritis leads to warm, painful and swelling in and around the joints and causes discomfort. Rheumatoid arthritis effects joints in both sides of the body, most commonly wrist, knees and hands are affected. In long run if it is not treated properly can lead to damage cartilage.
Cartilage is an elastic tissue that covers and protects ends of bones at the joints. If left untreated rheumatoid arthritis can lead to several health complications and increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, infections, rheumatoid nodules, lymphoma, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases. It commonly begins at age between 35-60 years of age. Women are three times more at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than men. Rheumatoid arthritis causes are not fully known but it is mainly caused due to immune system disorder, family history or genetics also play an important role in developing rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking, eating lot of red meat, environmental factors also are treated as causes of rheumatoid arthritis. Female hormones, obesity and stress are also treated to increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is mostly seen in women more than men, researchers believe that female hormones also lead to rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis :
Here are some common symptoms people face with rheumatoid arthritis
- Redness in the joints
- Joint warmth
- Swelling of joints
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness in the morning
- Walking with difficulty or Limping
- Pain in more than one joint
- Weight loss
- Difficulty in moving after resting for some time
- Lumps or rheumatoid nodules
- Sweating and anemia
In rheumatoid arthritis small joints get affected like wrist, fingers, hands and feet. These symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may even last forever or may come and go. These symptoms are severe in monsoon.
Diagnosis and Treatment :
In early stages of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms resemble other forms of arthritis making it difficult to diagnose. Rheumatologist a specialist who deals with joints, arthritis, RA and other conditions ask us few questions and also to undergo few tests and examinations. Tests like X-Ray, MRI and ultrasound scan are suggested as these tests helps to reveal the signs of rheumatoid nodules and joint lining. Along with family history, individuals are asked to undergo some lab tests to look for antibodies affect in the body.
There is no complete cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but with the help of treatments symptoms and complications of RA can be reduced and managed. Treatment is offered based on the symptoms and severity of the condition. Different remedies like NSAIDs and DMARDs are used to get relief from pain and swelling. Some therapies and exercises are suggested to reduce pain, stiffness and to reduce warmth and swelling. People with RA are asked to take rest to decrease pressure on joints.