Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is autoimmune arthritis along with joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis can seriously damage a wide variety of body systems skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. This disease can occur when the immune system of the body attacks its own body’s tissues. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.

Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are

 

What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

 

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness is worse in the mornings and after inactivity
  • Fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite

Rheumatoid arthritis initially attacks smaller joints like fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet, and as the disease progresses, its symptoms get spread to the wrists, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms may occur in the same joints on both sides of your body. Most people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may face other body damages like

 

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Salivary glands
  • Nerve tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may differ from person to person.

 

What are the Causes and Risk factors?

The exact cause of Rheumatoid arthritis is not known, but it can run in the family. It can appear at any age; most commonly, it appears at the age of 40 to 60. Obesity and smoking can make RA worse. Women are at great risk of getting it than men.

 

How is Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosed?

It is difficult to diagnose Rheumatoid arthritis in the early stages as there is no exact blood or physical examination that can confirm its presence. RA is diagnosed with the support of ESR or CRP because of an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate) and may be C-reactive protein (CRP) that may show the availability of an inflammatory process in the body.

An X-ray can indicate the progress of RA, while MRI and ultrasound can help doctors to check the severity of disease in the body.

 

How can Rheumatoid Arthritis be treated?

No cure can be fully treated. But a doctor can suggest medicines, exercises, and surgery to manage this disease.

 

Medications

NSAIDs: These medicines can help to control pain and to reduce inflammation. Doctors may suggest stronger NSAIDs for chronic pain, and these medicines also have side effects like stomach upset, heart and kidney problems.

Steroids: These medicines relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and can slow joint damage. These medicines also have side effects like diabetes, weight gain, and thinning of bones.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These medicines slow down the progress of Rheumatoid arthritis save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Side effects vary but may include bone marrow suppression, liver damage, and severe lung infections.

 

Physical therapy

The doctor may recommend you to visit a therapist who can teach you exercises to keep your joints flexible.

Assistive devices can make it easy for you to avoid stressing your painful joints. For example, a kitchen knife equipped with a handgrip helps protect your finger and wrist joints. Certain tools, like buttonhooks, make it easier to get dressed. Catalogs and medical supply stores are also good places to look for ideas.

 

 Surgery for Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is the last option if medicines are not working. Surgery may have one or more of the following procedures:

Synovectomy- This surgery is used to remove the inflamed lining of joints can be performed on knees, elbows, wrists, fingers, and hips.

Tendon repair- The surgeon will repair your damaged tendon by a surgical process if required.

Joint fusion- Surgically fusing a joint may be suggested to stabilize or realign a joint and to provide relief from pain when the joint replacement isn’t your option.

Total joint replacement- In joint replacement surgery, your surgeon takes off the damaged parts of the joint and inserts a prosthesis that is made of metal and plastic.