Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that leads to chronic inflammation of the joints. It is often characterized by periods of disease flares and remissions. This disease mostly begins between the ages 30 to 50.
Mostly women are affected by this disease. In America, more than 1.3 million people are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis mostly affects small joints in the feet and hands. They can even affect your organs like skin, lungs or eyes as well.
In Rheumatoid arthritis, several joints are often affected in a symmetrical pattern. Chronic inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can result in permanent joint destruction.
Look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is a chronic disease with symptoms like:
- Joint pain
- Loss of range of motion
- Swollen joints
- Stiff joints
- Joint redness
- Tender joints
- Joint warmth
- Joint deformity
- Loss of appetite
The real cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown. They know what factors trigger rheumatoid arthritis but the exact trigger is unknown. There are some suspicions that infectious agents like bacteria, virus, and fungi are the cause. This is still not proven but there is an active research going on. It is believed that rheumatoid arthritis has the tendency of being inherited genetically.
Moreover, there are some genes that are identified to increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It is believed that specific factors or infections may trigger the activation of the immune system. The misdirected immune system attacks the tissue of the body. This causes inflammation in the joints and some organs.
Some scientists believe smoking tobacco, exposure to silica material or chronic periodontal disease increases the risk. Some theories state that gut bacteria can cause rheumatoid arthritis. But it is not proven.
The medication will be recommended by your doctor depending on the severity of your symptoms. Some of the medications are:
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are great for relieving pain and reduce inflammation. Over the counter, NSAIDs contains Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
Corticosteroid medications are useful in decreasing the inflammation and pain, they are helpful in slowing down the joint damage. They are usually offered to relieve the acute symptoms with gradually reducing the medication.
Disease-modifying Antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
They can help in slowing down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. They can save the joints and tissues from permanent damage. Some to the DMARDs include methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide, and sulfasalazine.
They are a newer type of DMARDs that comprises of abatacept, anakinra, golimumab, and rituximab. They can target the parts of the immune system that activates the inflammation causing joint and tissue damage.
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis includes reducing joint inflammation, pain, and joint destruction. If aggressive management is used, it can improve the function and stop the joint damage. Optimal rheumatoid arthritis treatment includes:
- A combination of medication
- Exercises for strengthening joints.
The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is successful when there is close cooperation between you and your doctor.
DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.