Arthritis is a term that is used to describe the inflammation of a joint. Some of the characteristics of arthritis are pain, swelling, redness and warmth within the joints. Rheumatic arthritis is a type of chronic arthritis that affects both sides of the body such as wrists, hands or knees. It is the second most common form of arthritis and it can affect people at any age. Typically though, it's onset is around the middle years say between 30 and 50 years of age.
The exact cause of this condition is not yet known, but according to research, it is thought to be caused by three factors which are environmental, hormonal, and genetical. Research has shown that certain genes which are connected to the immune system are linked with rheumatoid arthritis. It is believed that something (stress, hormonal changes, or a viral infection) does trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people that has the genetic tendency to develop the condition. There is another school of thought that suggests that smoking may also be a root cause of this condition.
There are a number of symptoms which can sometimes be very unpredictable as can come and go. Some of the most common symptoms include Fatigue, Pain and Swelling of the joints, Stiffness of the joints (which occurs mostly in the mornings and after sitting for long periods of time), and The presence of bumps and nodules under the skin. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people in different ways. For some, it develops and progresses rapidly. While for others, it develops for a limited period of time and then lapses into a remission stage which can last for months or even years. It can also develop gradually over several years before it becomes really unbearable for the sufferer.
Managing rheumatoid arthritis can be achieved with a balance of medication, exercises and rest. Although it is easier said than done, especially since the symptoms can sometimes come and go and there can occasionally be severe bouts of Flare-ups (When the inflammation of the joints becomes more painful and active, and the swelling and stiffness gets worse), it is still advised to stick to the treatment routine that was devised by your medical team so as to keep the condition under check. The treatment of this condition depend on several factors including medical history, age, severity, and the overall state of health of the sufferer. The medications used to relieve the symptoms include: Anti-inflammatory painkillers, Nacotic pain relievers, and Topical (creams and lotions) pain relievers. Extreme or severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis are treated with very strong medications called Disease-Modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), and or surgery - to correct damage done to the joints.