What is rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation of multiple joints in the body with predilection for smaller joints in the hands. Rheumatoid arthritis causes symptoms and signs of inflammation in joints which have pain, swelling, redness, heat and loss of function i.e. stiffness and restriction in the motion and use of multiple joints.
Although joints are the primary structure affected by this condition, it can lead to inflammation in other body parts also for instance, the lungs, eyes, heart, blood vessels and kidneys. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are typically worst in the morning with gradual easing of symptoms every day. This chronic worsening of symptoms in the morning, particularly of stiffness in the joints, are important diagnostic clues in differentiating different kinds of arthritis by way of instance osteoarthritis and gouty arthritis.
Other signs of rheumatoid arthritis are non-specific, which could include loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, weight loss, hair loss, low grade fevers and so forth. What are the causes of rheumatoid arthritis and who’s at risk? Rheumatoid arthritis is categorized as autoimmune disorder, where the body creates an immunogenic reaction to a constituent of its own tissue, in this instance, the joints. Quite simply the immune system loses its ability to comprehend some system or tissue inside the body as “self” and goals and attacks it as if it were foreign.
How is rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed? Clinical suspicion is the first step towards confirmation of the diagnosis. Once rheumatoid arthritis is suspected, a set of laboratory and radiological tests are conducted and these include complete blood examination, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, rheumatoid factors, autoimmune markers and x-rays. If these tests turn out favorable, rheumatoid arthritis is extremely likely. How is rheumatoid arthritis treated? Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can be categorized as anti inflammatory and medical treatments.
these include physiotherapy with hot wax, joint exercises and assistive devices. More often than not, conservative therapy alone is insufficient, therefore, addition of chemotherapeutic agents is justified.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that mounts an inflammatory reaction towards self, using chemotherapeutic agents, which change and dampen the immune response, is nonetheless, effective. These chemotherapeutic agents include steroids, methotrexate, sulfasalazine and plaquenil. Pain, that frequently is the dominant symptom in rheumatoid arthritis, can be handled by taking anti inflammatory medications such as non-steroidals.
Does rheumatoid arthritis just affect joints? No. As a matter of fact, rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune, inflammatory disease which has a predilection for joints. It can affect skin, heart, brain, lungs and other physiological systems. What’s your advice for folks that suffer rheumatoid arthritis? It’s paramount that those who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis should stay active. Seeking advice with a physical and occupational therapist may help to determine what level and types of actions are appropriate. It’s important to discuss your progress with your doctor and medical care providers, who will supply you with appropriate advice and tools you need during your therapy.