Rheumatoid Arthritis

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

A chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect the joints in a person’s body, as well as the blood vessels, skin, eyes, heart, lungs and more, is known as rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune disorder. It happens when a person’s immune system starts to attack their own body tissue. It can result in painful swelling as well as joint deformity, bone erosion, and more.

Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include joints that are warm, tender and swollen. Stiffness in the joints that feels worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity. Weight loss as well as fever and fatigue. Over 39 percent of individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis have symptoms that involve parts of the body other than the joints. This included kidneys, nerve tissue, salivary glands and more.

Treatment

There is no cure this disease. Rheumatoid arthritis treatment is most often effective when it begins during the early stages of development. Physicians may prescribe powerful medications such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Physical therapy may be recommended to teach a person how to keep their joints flexible. Surgery may be the last option to repair damaged joints. It can lead to a person being able to once again use their joints.

Causes

Rheumatoid arthritis causes are still unknown to medical researchers. They suspect a genetic component is likely. It is agreed that genetics alone does not cause a person to develop rheumatoid arthritis. It does make a person more vulnerable to certain environmental factors. This includes susceptibility to certain viruses as well as bacteria that can trigger the creation of the disease.

Medication

There are different types rheumatoid arthritis medication that has proven effective when treating the disease. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be effective at decreasing inflammation and pain. Steroids can slow joint damage as well as decrease inflammation and pain. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can slow the advancement of the disease and save joints and tissue from permanent damage.

Pain

People who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis describe the pain as sometimes burning and at other times throbbing. When individuals experience rheumatoid arthritis pain, they often aren’t able to focus on anything else. Others say the pain changes when being physically active like walking or doing yoga.

Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are different but share similar characteristics. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis as the treatments are different. Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear on joints over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.