What Are The Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

 

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second major type of arthritis – exceeded in number of cases only by osteoarthritis. That’s why let’s find out its causes to avoid it.

Take note, it is a very serious ailment caused by inflammation of the joints. The pain associated with the disease is at times so severe that it almost completely disables sufferers. Also, it affects women more often than men.

Remember, rheumatoid arthritis advances in three stages starting with painful swelling and stiffness of the joints.

In the second stage, the pain aggravates and the bones and cartilage are severely affected thereby restricting the movement of the person altogether. By this time the diseases becomes chronic and just defies all treatment.

Thus, it is in your best interest to immediately consult a doctor as soon as you have pain in the joints. This means that don’t wait for any other symptom appear.

Also, you should never try treating the disease by taking over the counter medicines. Chances are that you may aggravate the ailment.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that your body has made antibodies in the immune system that attack the tissues that line the joints.

The synovium (synovial membrane) or joint lining becomes inflamed and thickened. Eventually, the cartilage becomes destroyed, leaving bone to rub on bone. In the most severe cases, the bone itself will erode as well.

arthritis

The ligaments and tendons that connect the joints to other tissues will stretch out and weaken so that the joint itself begins to become deformed. Exactly how this autoimmune process works is not clear.

There may be both environmental and genetic factors playing into who gets rheumatoid arthritis and who doesn’t.

It’s possible that genetics interacts with environmental things like infections to result in the disease.

The self-destructive immune response of rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and an environmental trigger.

Changing hormones also may play an important part in the disease, possibly in response to an infection from the environment.

More than one gene has been linked to risk for rheumatoid arthritis. Specific genes may increase a person’s chance of developing the disease, and also could partially determine how serious his or her condition is.

However, since not all people with a genetic predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis actually have the disease, other factors must be important.

A specific environmental trigger has not yet been found, but some research suggests that infection by a virus or bacterium leads to rheumatoid arthritis in genetically susceptible people.

This does not mean that rheumatoid arthritis is contagious. People with rheumatoid arthritis appear to have more antibodies in the synovial fluid in their joints, suggesting that there may be an infection.

Low levels of hormones from the adrenal gland are common in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but how hormones interact with environmental and genetic factors is unknown. Hormone changes may contribute to the progression of the rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Conditions That Can Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can occur independently from other conditions, but its causes and relationship to other diseases are not well understood. A different form of chronic arthritis can sometimes develop into rheumatoid arthritis.

It also is possible that infections or other environmental triggers exist that can cause rheumatoid arthritis in people that already have a gene for the disease.

Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis

It often is difficult to rule out alternate causes of joint pain during the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis.

A diagnosis is based on the symptoms you describe, your medical history, and a physical examination.

An X-ray, a blood test for rheumatoid factor, and other laboratory tests also may help your doctor to distinguish between other conditions and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is important that you ask your doctor to diagnose whether you are actually afflicted with Rheumatoid arthritis and if so, start taking the treatment that he prescribes.

If you go by your doctor’s advice you can save yourself a lot of damage by reducing the severity of the attack of the disease.

Any delay in diagnosing and treating the disease may aggravate to an extent that you may have to undergo surgery. This will not only entail great pain, but also require huge costs of treatment.

Besides seeking a doctor’s advice early, you may take general precautions like protecting your affected areas from stress of exertion. You should also try to reduce your weight if you are obese.

Also, contact your physiotherapist. Seek his or her advice about certain kind of exercises that may be specific to your kind of rheumatoid arthritis and take these exercises regularly as per the expert’s advice.

treatment

When To See a Doctor

As we get older, many of us will feel occasional joint pain or discomfort that comes and goes. This does not usually require professional treatment.

But you should see a doctor if:
  • you regularly have morning stiffness in your joints
  • you experience persistent joint pain that does not improve with self-care
  • the joint pain is increasing
  • the joint is swollen, red, hot, or tender to the touch
  • it is difficult to move without pain
  • you also have a fever
  • several joints on the left and right sides of your body are affected

 

Rheumatoid arthritis advances in three stages starting with painful swelling and stiffness of the joints.

In the second stage, the pain aggravates and the bones and cartilage are severely affected thereby restricting the movement of the person altogether. By this time the diseases becomes chronic and just defies all treatment.

It is in your best interest to immediately consult a doctor as soon as you have pain in the joints. This means that don’t wait for any other symptom appear.

Also, you should never try treating the disease by taking over the counter medicines. Chances are that you may aggravate the ailment.

It is important that you ask your doctor to diagnose whether you are actually afflicted with Rheumatoid arthritis and if so, start taking the treatment that he prescribes.

If you go by your doctor’s advice you can save yourself a lot of damage by reducing the severity of the attack of the disease.

Any delay in diagnosing and treating the disease may aggravate to an extent that you may have to undergo surgery. This will not only entail great pain, but also require huge costs of treatment.

Besides seeking a doctor’s advice early, you may take general precautions like protecting your affected areas from stress of exertion. You should also try to reduce your weight if you are obese.

Also, contact your physiotherapist. Seek his or her advice about certain kind of exercises that may be specific to your kind of rheumatoid arthritis and take these exercises regularly as per the expert’s advice.

What To Expect During The Exam

There are many sources of joint pain, and in early rheumatoid arthritis it is often difficult to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Your doctor will try to determine the causes of your symptoms based on your description, your medical history, and a physical examination.

They also may use x rays and laboratory tests to distinguish between other conditions and rheumatoid arthritis.

A blood test can be done for rheumatoid factor, which is present in 80% of people with rheumatoid arthritis, but it may not be visible early on. In addition, not everyone with rheumatoid factor has arthritis.

The initial exam is also important in monitoring changes in your health over time. If rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed, regular doctor visits will allow you to adjust treatments as needed.

 


TAKEAWAY QUESTIONS

– Do you know someone who has rheumatoid arthritis or other type of arthritis?

– Are you aware of other causes of arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis?

– Are there any environmental triggers that surrounds you?

– How does knowing the causes inform and empower you?

– How could you avoid or delays rheumatoid arthritis or other type of arthritis?

 

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