What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Do you know what to do when you are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? This autoimmune disorder comes and goes but it can get worse in just a few months or years. It can even cause problems in the eyes, lungs and heart. How do you know you have this condition in the first place?

Important Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by joint inflammation with discomfort. If you have this illness, you will feel pain, red puffiness and hot skin because of the inflammation. You can commonly find the redness on the wrists, hands and knees.

Another symptom is joint rigidity that usually occurs in the morning or after a long time of physical inactivity. You may also feel fatigue with slight increase in temperature. The symptoms usually stay for a long time. Sometimes, they do not last long but this is very rare.

Who are At Risk of RA?

Men and women who are 30 to 60 years old are at risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Youngsters may have it albeit rarely. It is also uncommon among seniors and elderly. Females are more likely to have this illness than males.

According to research, this condition can be passed from one person to another through DNA. So, a person who has a relative diagnosed with RA is more at risk of getting the disease.

It’s not clear what really causes RA, but the inflammation occurs on the joints’ internal protective lining. When this happens, the surrounding cartilage and bones may be damaged. If not treated, the affected area will deform and not work. It will become more and more painful as time passes.

The Extent of Impact and Treatment Methods

Rheumatoid arthritis also affects other body organs. Rheumatoid nodules develop hard bumps beneath the skin. The glands of the eyeballs and oral cavity may become inflamed and break, a condition known as Sjogren’s syndrome. The lining of the chambers of the heart may develop pericarditis.

A person with RA may lack red blood cells, a condition known as anemia. The body may lack white blood cells, which is called Felty syndrome. The veins and arteries may become inflamed restricting blood flow. This is called vasculitis.

To prevent rheumatoid arthritis from getting worse, it is important to address this condition. While there is no total cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are ways to diminish joint inflammation along with the associated pain. Talking to a doctor who can give prescription drugs can help slow down the progression of your joint problem.

The prescription medication given depends on the age, degree of arthritis and affected body part. Some tests like hemoglobin test, MRI and x-rays are required to check the status of the patient’s condition. The usual medications include steroids and pain relievers.

In case the rheumatoid arthritis cannot be remedied by medication such as when the pain is beyond tolerance, the doctor may recommend doing a surgery. The usual procedures include joint removal and knee replacement.

Photo credits: By User:Phoenix119 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Categories: Health