What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a vicious disease that affects the joints of the body. It has been known to cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. If a single knee or hand has rumatoid arthritis, the other knee or hand will most likely develop it. Rheumatoid arthritis often occurs in more than a single joint and is capable of affecting any joint in the body. People diagnosed with rumatoid arthritis often get feelings of sickness and fatigue and are more prone to get fevers.
The length of rumatoid arthritis varies from a month to two years. After it has run its course, it leaves without leaving any damage . Many people experience times when the symptoms worsen (flares), and times when they improve (remissions). Others have a severe form of rumatoid arthritis that can last anywhere from a few months to a lifetime. This form of the disease can cause serious permanent joint damage.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. Some very common side effects include:
Joints are swollen, tender and warm
Joint inflammation often occurring in the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
Joint inflammation affecting other areas such as neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles and feet.
Fatigue, fevers and an overal feeling of unwellness
Pain and stiffness in joints lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long sleep
These symptoms can last for years!
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The exact cause of rumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is known that with this arthritis, a person's immune system attacks his or her own body tissues. Researchers are learning many things about why and how this happens. Things that may cause rumatoid arthritis are:
Genes (past on from parents): Researchers are discovering that certain genes may play in the role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Environment: Some scientists believe that something must happen to trigger the disease process in people who have the genes that make them more likely to develop rumatoid arthritis.
Hormones: Other scientists and researchers believe a variety of other hormonal factors may also contribute to rumatoid arthritis.
Rheumtoid Arthritis Treatment:
There are many ways that doctors can treat rumatoid arthritis. The goals of treatment are to:
Reduce pain and swelling
Stop or slow down joint damage
Help people feel better and stay active
Treatment for rumatoid arthritis may involve:
Changes in lifestyle: Make sure to keep a good balance between exercise and rest, take care of your joints, eliminate stress from you life, and eating a health, well-balanced diet.
Medicine: A majority of people suffering from rumatoid arthritis take medicine for pain relief, to reduce swelling and to prevent the disease from getting worse.
Surgery: Many types of surgeries are available to those with severe joint damage.
Regular Doctor Visits: Visit your doctor on a regular basis so he/she can see if it getting worse, determine if the medicine is helping, and change the treatment if needed.