What Are The Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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?

 

What Are The Available Treatments For Arthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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What are the some alternative treatments for arthritis or available treatments rheumatoid arthritis?

Most, if not all, sufferers of arthritis have been exposed to the medical pills, ointments, and treatments for arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

All of which might or might not have worked to varying degrees and so searching around for arthritis remedies that will bring some relief has become central to their lives, which is no surprise really because arthritis is a painful condition to try and live with.

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As well as trying to live with the pain, there is the added knowledge that arthritis can ravage the body and leave the sufferer with debilitating and disabling joints that will severely affect a person’s standard of living and ability to do everyday things.

Better Arthritis Diet

People who suffer from arthritis are always looking for ways to relieve their pain.  One way to ease or even prevent it is through an arthritis diet.

There are some arthritis diets that some people will swear by but have never been proven to make a difference.  There are some diets that make a definite difference according to health experts.

First, we’ll take a look at some arthritis diets where there’s little or no evidence that they actually make a difference.

One of the most common arthritis diets is to eliminate potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and most peppers.  While the diet won’t do any harm, it hasn’t been proven to affect arthritis at all.

Another arthritis diet seeks to reduce the acids in one’s body eliminating sugar, coffee, red meat, most grains, nuts, and citrus fruits.  It’s intended to be followed for just one month.

People may feel better because they lose weight which reduces the stress on their joints, but again there is no evidence to support this.

It also excludes many sources of vitamin C which are essential in fighting arthritis.  Drinking green tea has been shown to reduce the effects of rheumatoid arthritis in mice, but there are no conclusive results on human studies yet.

Shark cartilage is supposed to relieve arthritis.  Animal and lab studies show promise, but there are no human studies to support this yet.

Now, let’s take a look at some arthritis diets that have been shown to work.  Switching fats can reduce inflammation.  Eating fats found in red meat and poultry have actually been shown to increase inflammation.

Switching to cold water fish can help reduce the inflammation.  Using corn, safflower, and sunflower oils also help.

Another arthritis diet is the ASU (avocado soybean unsaponifiable).  It has been shown to relieve osteoarthritis, stimulate cartilage repair, and lessen a patient’s need to NSAIDs to control pain.

Ginger has been shown to ease pain and inflammation as well as protect the stomach from gastrointestinal effects from taking NSAIDs.

Glucosamine is a supplement that relieves pain in some patients with osteoarthritis.  It helps the body rebuild cartilage, but can take up to two months to see the effects.

If you are allergic to shellfish, check with your doctor before taking this as it is derived from crab, lobster, or shrimp shells.

Before taking any supplements talk with your doctor as some can interfere with or worsen side effects from your medications.

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Of course, the best arthritis diet is a good old-fashioned well-balanced diet.  Eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, and go easy on fats and cholesterol.

A heart healthy diet is especially important to patients with rheumatoid arthritis as studies have shown a link between this disease and heart failure.

Vitamin C is good for repairing body tissue.  Vitamin D helps absorb calcium, build bone mass, and prevents bone loss.

Calcium helps strengthen your bones.  If you are on medication, ask your doctor if he/she recommends taking vitamins.

Some medications can create vitamin or mineral deficiencies.  When choosing your arthritis diet, be sure to talk with your physician as different types of arthritis have different needs.

treatment for arthritis

Other Remedies for Arthritis

Arthritis remedies that involve reducing the swelling that this disease causes in the joints of the sufferer are highly thought of and suggested.

Ice packs applied to a newly affected joint is a proven method to ease pain and reduce painful swelling.

However, what needs to be added to this point, is that icing a joint can often lead to the joint stiffening and becoming inflexible.  It is for this reason that icing of an arthritic joint is usually suggested at the end of the day.

Alternatively, applying heat to the affected joint also works well as arthritis remedies go. 

Heat works the opposite way to ice and so the best time to often use a hot water bottle or heat pack is at the beginning of the day.

The joints have been stiffened throughout the night and a warm heat pack can often loosen up the joints and give more flexibility for the rest of the day.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but exercise is also a proven remedy for arthritis. 

Of course, depending on the level of mobility that a suffer might have, an exercise in its full range might not be possible.  However as soon as arthritis is diagnosed, exercise should be placed at the top of the list.

Without exercise, the bones and joints quickly become stiff and immobile and any hope of reclaiming the flexibility needed to live an independent and active life might disappear for good.

Massaging the affected joints with soothing oils, incorporating exercise and adjusting the diet are all proven and worthwhile arthritis remedies that can effectively offer relief and a much better quality of life to anyone struggling with arthritis.

treatment for arthritis

Alternative Treatments for Arthritis

Many arthritis sufferers have tried unusual and rather nasty ‘cures’ for their disease like enduring bee-stings or covering themselves in cow manure. The benefits must have been rather less spectacular than the cures or else everyone else would have done the same.

One arthritis cure suggests that half a glass of raw potato juice followed by chewing two or three juniper berries will do the trick!

While this may be so, many doctors and scientists researching arthritis have studied the benefits of taking nutritional substances like vitamins.

In fact, studies have shown that people with arthritis are mostly deficient in the B group of vitamins, though whether this is due to the disease or to the fact that taking aspirin depletes the body’s stores of this vitamin is not clear.

Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals.

These oxygen-reactive free radical molecules are thought to contribute significantly to disease and tissue damage.

It has been found that cells from damaged knee cartilage can release great amounts of free radicals. In fact, studies have shown that those who have a high Vitamin C intake have a two-thirds reduction in the risk of further damage to their knees.

Well-known scientist Dr. Linus Pauling recommends 18 grams of V-C per day as an arthritis preventative measure.

Osteoarthritis can cause thinning of the bones, and so can prednisone, often given to treat it. It makes sense then to increase the amount of Vitamin D and calcium, both of which are bone-builders.

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As far back as 1974, British scientists found that lack of vitamin D contributed to bone fractures in the elderly with arthritis. Lack of sunlight and an unhealthy diet both contributed to the lack.

The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is 400 IU or 600 IU if for those over the age of 60. A daily dose of 1200 IU is the limit as this vitamin is toxic if too much is taken.

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, working in a similar way to vitamin C. Studies in Germany have proven that it can help to reduce pain. Good sources of this vitamin can be found in wheat germ, sunflower seed, corn oil, legumes and whole grains.

While some people swear by the arthritis cure that their copper bracelet brought, there is no scientific link to copper as being an aid to arthritis. In fact, the opposite is true. Those with RA often have higher levels of copper in their blood. Too much copper can make you sick.

Selenium deficiency can cause a particular type of arthritis called Kashin-Bek disease, but it is more common where the soil is deficient in selenium, though sufferers of RA have less in their blood than others. Fish, organ meats, whole grains, nuts, and beans will provide selenium.

Zinc may help reduce pain, stiffness and swelling. Some trials showed this was true, though others gave conflicting results. Oysters, cheese, and tofu are all good sources of zinc.

The pain of arthritis can also be relieved by hot-packs, deliberately focusing on something else like pleasant music, humor, gentle exercise and losing weight.

treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Because there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment is directed at controlling your symptoms and helping you feel better. There are some medications that will slow the degree of joint damage you will experience.

There are several types of drugs used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Some are relatively easy to tolerate, while others have serious side effects that you should be aware of. Doctors usually start with the medications that are easiest to tolerate first.

Here are some good treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

prcvirSteroid medications, such as prednisone or prednisolone, are helpful in that they reduce the pain and inflammation of the joints and can reduce the rate of joint damage. Unfortunately, they have side effects, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and weight gain. Steroids are especially good when you have flares of the disease and are not meant to take chronically.

prcvirNSAID medication. These include medications like ibuprofen and naproxen (unless you get one prescribed by the doctor). They are not without side effects, however, and these include liver damage, kidney damage, irritation of the stomach, heart problems, and tinnitus.

prcvirAnti-Rheumatic drugs. These medications can actually lessen the damage done by the autoantibodies so that the joints aren’t permanently damaged. Medications in this class include Plaquenil, Azulfidine, methotrexate, and leflunomide. Because they can affect your immune system, they can cause side effect including suppression of your bone marrow, lung infections, and liver problems.

prcvirBiologic medications. These represent a new class of medications that act on the immune system so that there are less inflammation and less joint damage. They can cause an increase in infections because they affect the immune system. Choices of biologic medications include adalimumab, abatacept, certolizumab, rituximab, and infliximab.

prcvirPhysical therapy. You may wish to see a physical therapist who can help you learn various exercises that will keep your joints more flexible. They may also help you learn how to do things around the house that don’t involve using your hands. Devices may be prescribed for you that will help you do things without stressing the joints too much.

prcvirSurgery can be done that can repair the damage to your joints. This includes things like joint replacement in which the damaged joints are removed and a prosthetic joint is put in its place. Tendons can also be repaired. In the worst case scenario, the surgeon can fuse the joints together so they don’t rub against one another.

 


POINTS TO REMEMBER

Better Arthritis Diet

Drink green tea

Switch to cold water fish

ASU (avocado soybean unsaponifiable)

Ginger

Glucosamine

Vitamin C

Vitamin D

Other Remedies for Arthritis

Ice packs applied to a newly affected joint

Applying heat to the affected joint

Exercise is also a proven remedy for arthritis

Alternative Treatments for Arthritis

Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals.

Increase the amount of Vitamin D and calcium, both of which are bone-builders.

Zinc may help reduce pain, stiffness and swelling

Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Steroid medications

NSAID medication

Anti-Rheumatic drugs

Biologic medications

Physical therapy

Surgery

TAKEAWAY QUESTIONS

– Are you familiar of the available treatments for arthritis?

– Are you familiar of the alternative treatments for arthritis?

– Are you familiar of the available treatments for rheumatoid arthritis?

– Which treatment works best for you or for your love one?


HERE’S THE DOWNLOAD LINK:

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The Absolute Beginners Guide On Rheumatoid Arthritis

rheumatoid arthritis

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Before we know more about rheumatoid arthritis, let us first discuss if what is arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, multisystem, and inflammatory autoimmune disorder that will bring on an attack to the joints.  It is a very crippling and painful condition that can lead to loss of mobility to the pain and joint devastation.

Rheumatoid arthritis is systemic and will also affect different tissues through the body, skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs and muscles.

A family history is important to the risk.  It is three times more common in women than in men and up to four times more common in smokers than non-smokers.

If you’ve heard about arthritis, you would most likely have associated it with older patients, and with a lot of body pain.

You might not know it, but you could be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Although rheumatoid arthritis is commonly associated with the older generation, people over the age of 65, the disease is found in younger generations – even including children.

Rheumatoid arthritis will affect anyone between the ages of 20 and 40 and can start anytime.

How could you tell if you have it?

Well, if you’re experiencing morning stiffness for no apparent reason like if you had done a lot of strenuous exercises the night before, you might be suffering from one of its symptoms.

As mild as you might think morning stiffness is, you really ought to give it some serious thought and consult with your doctor because if that morning stiffness is related to rheumatoid arthritis.

You can work to prevent it from disabling or crippling you later on down the road to a point where you can barely function.

Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t just a physical condition. It has the propensity to tax your mental and emotional state of well-being too.

This is because arthritis can change the way you work, the way you interact with your family, and the way you entertain yourself with recreational activities.

You might even know someone with rheumatoid arthritis and have observed how this disease changed not only his or her mobility but also his or her outlook on life.

Those of us without rheumatoid arthritis tend to take for granted our ability to move in any way we want, but when that ability slowly disappears right before our eyes, it’s no surprise that we get depressed about it.

But it doesn’t necessary have to be that way. With proper medications, education, support, and prescribed exercises, you could work to prevent the most severe forms of the disease – or at least prolong the worst case symptoms.

The symptoms will separate rheumatoid arthritis from other types of arthritis because of the inflammation and soft tissue swelling of many joints at the same time.

This is known as polyarthritis.  The joints are usually affected asymmetrically and then will go on to the symmetrical part as the disease goes on.

It is not like the other forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis because the pain will move with the use of the joints that are affected.

As the disease goes on, the inflammatory activity will lead to the erosion and destruction of the joints that will impair their range of movement and lead to some deformity.

The fingers and the bones will deviate to the outside and towards the small finger and take on unnatural shapes.

Having deformities in patients that are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis will include the Boutonnière deformity, the swan neck deformity, and the “Z-thumb” deformity.

The term arthritis itself is derived from the Greek words for joint and inflammation and covers a group of health conditions that affect the body’s joints.

Arthritis has been known and recorded for centuries. The first case was reported to date as far back as 4500 BC. Very simply, arthritis involves swelling of the joints, such that mere movement can cause body pains.

Such joints are sensitive to changes in the weather, and elder patients suffering from arthritis claim that their pains are greatest in the morning, when they first rise.

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Younger patients can also suffer from arthritis – the arthritic joint pain is not usually the general feature of juvenile arthritis, but the tendency to move, or the refusal to move at all, as in the case of especially young children.

Arthritis works in two ways. First, it inflames the muscles, ligaments, and cartilage that sit in-between joints. And it’s this inflammation that causes the pain, swelling, and heat.

Those are symptoms that are typical indications of an injury and they’re vital to understanding more about this disease.

Second, arthritis works by releasing enzymes that basically consume or otherwise destroy the muscles, ligaments, and cartilage that have become inflamed to a point where they’re not very useful and don’t allow for easy movement.

In the worse cases, cartilage disappears completely and as you can guess, this is extremely crippling and uncomfortable.

That’s why we call rheumatoid arthritis a disease. Typically, inflamed muscles, ligaments, and cartilage are the result of an injury, like falling on the knees for example.

But with arthritis, no injury has to occur. In fact, arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease and the cartilage inside joints is one of the things that it destroys.

And any joint can be affected – one, two, maybe even more but most of the time, the disease targets fingers, hips, feet, and knees.

arthritis

Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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 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.

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.

Risk Factors For Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are certain factors in your life that may make it more likely that you’ll get the disease.

These include the following:

  • Family history. If a parent or sibling has rheumatoid arthritis, this may put you at an increased risk of getting the disease.
  • If you are female, you have a greater chance of getting the disease.
  • While it can occur in a person of any age, most people are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 40 and 60 years of age.

Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t just a disease of the joints. There are several complications of the disease that you should be aware of.

These include the following:

Lung disease

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you stand a greater chance of also having scarring and inflammation of your lungs, which can cause you to feel short of breath.

Thinning of bones

You can get thinning of your bones just because you have rheumatoid arthritis. Alternatively, some of the medications used to treat the disease can cause weakened bones.

Heart problems

People with rheumatoid arthritis have a greater chance of having blocked arteries in the heart and an increased chance of pericardial sac inflammation.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

If you have rheumatoid arthritis in the wrist area, it can compress the carpal tunnel, which houses the median nerve. This can result in tingling and numbness of your hands and fingers.

arthritis

Because rheumatoid arthritis is a multisystem disease, another disease, and conditions may form as a result of it.  Many of the people that have rheumatoid arthritis will also have anemia.

Anemia is a problem of the red blood cells because there are not enough of them and or the hemoglobin and this will cause the lower ability of oxygen to be taken to the tissues.

It is a chronic disease and many will suffer from it and splenomegaly or the enlarging of the spleen.

Felty’s syndrome and Sjogren’s syndrome which is an autoimmune disorder in which the cells attack and ruin the exocrine glands and produce saliva and tears.

Dermatological will affect nodules on exterior surfaces.  Fibrosis may occur in the lungs at any time or as a result of different treatments.

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Tests For Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the early stages of the disease, rheumatoid arthritis can mimic other joint diseases, making it difficult to diagnose the disease.

A careful physical examination by your doctor might show characteristic findings of rheumatoid arthritis, including swelling of specific joints in the hands and the presence of rheumatoid nodules.

There is a blood test for rheumatoid arthritis that can clinch the diagnosis. It is called the “rheumatoid factor,” which is a test that detects the autoantibodies that are acting on your joints. Other tests for inflammation can help aid in the diagnosis of the disease.

There are characteristic x-ray findings for rheumatoid arthritis. The joints will look deformed and there will be a lack of joint space noted on x-ray as the disease progresses.

To diagnose arthritis and distinguish it from routine or simple joint pain, physicians conduct a battery of blood tests and x-rays.

Some blood tests can check for the presence of certain antibodies since some forms of arthritis arise out of the body’s immune system launching an attack on itself, making these forms of arthritis autoimmune disorders. X-rays, on the other hands, can show eroding bone or cartilage.

Once arthritis is diagnosed, treatment can proceed. Treatment can come in the form of surgery or drug treatment.

Those dealing with arthritis must also undergo occupational and physical therapy sessions so that they can recover the use of their limbs and keep their blood flow constant.

In all types of therapy, doctors ensure that stress on the affected joints is reduced, and pain is successfully managed.

The types of therapy to be used depend on the type of arthritis with which the patient is afflicted.

A few common types include the following.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system launches an attack on the joints, then moves on to affect other bodily organs such as the skin, heart, and lungs.

arrow1Psoriatic arthritis is also an autoimmune disorder with symptoms similar to rheumatoid arthritis. It is common in patients affected by psoriasis, a skin disease.

arrow1Septic arthritis is the wearing away of cartilage due to bacterial accumulation in and attack on the joints. This is usually caused by cuts or gashes that penetrate to the level of the bone and are left untreated or unwashed.

arrow1Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing away of cartilage that protects the bone. Because of the great pain, they experience, patients with osteoarthritis may refuse to move, causing their muscles to atrophy.

arrow1A gout is a form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of crystals of uric acid in joints. Those affected with gout have to take a low purine diet or to stay away from high-protein foods such as sardines and certain types of fish, some mussels, sweetbreads such as kidneys and brains of animals, and alcohol.

If you think you have arthritis, consult a doctor about your condition and have the necessary tests performed.

If all signs point to a positive diagnosis, be sure to follow all instructions to the hilt:

– take all the medications prescribed,

– avoid all the foods that have to be avoided,

– and attend all therapy sessions if you are required to do so.

If you know someone with arthritis or are living with someone afflicted with the disease, take a role in monitoring the patient’s progress by making sure that the patient follows the therapy regimen or by watching the patient well following surgery.

Arthritis is a disease that requires patience, both on the part of the afflicted and the caregiver, so obey all instructions and ask questions if necessary.

There are several things for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. Having stiffness in the morning that goes on for longer than one hour is an example as is arthritis and soft tissue swelling of more than three out of 14 joints or in the joint groups.

Arthritis of hand joints like symmetric arthritis, subcutaneous nodules in specific places, a rheumatoid factor at a level above the 95th place and radiological changes that are suggested of joint erosion and are part of the criteria.  There are at least four of these things hat have to be met in order to establish diagnoses.

Some Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

When symptoms are mild, moderate exercising including stretching, weight lifting, and aerobics ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Be sure to rest when your joints flare up as this would just add strain to your aching joints.

Stretching is important because it increases flexibility and is easy enough to do at any age.  When stretching, stop when you feel mild discomfort and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Then, repeat 3 to 5 times.  Weight lifting also improves flexibility as well as strength and balance.  Barbells are easy, convenient, and inexpensive.

Remember to stretch before lifting any weights.  Start with 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.  If you would like you can start with no weights at all (such as going leg lifts for rheumatoid arthritis in the knees), then add weights when you can.  Lift the weights slowly and evenly to not damage the cartilage.

Some other popular forms of exercise for rheumatoid arthritis are aqua therapy and Tai Chi.  Be sure to find an actual therapist as they have specific exercises they do for arthritis patients.  Aerobics instructors may push too far and do further damage.

Tai Chi has no long term studies proving its effectiveness, but due to testimonials from patients who have taken Tai Chi, the Arthritis Foundation began offering the class.  Remember to always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

The treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are going to be placed in disease modifying antirheumatic drugs or (DMARDS), anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics.

DMARDS is known to start durable remissions and delay the disease process, prevent bone and joint damage as well.  It works best in the initial stages, so if you suspect you may have rheumatoid arthritis, see your doctor as soon as possible.

There are other options if you are in later stages of rheumatoid arthritis.  These are also helpful if you are still in early stages.

One is to use anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.  This does a great job reducing pain and inflammation.

However, these have side effects including heart problems and gastrointestinal bleeding.  You can also use acetaminophen for your rheumatoid arthritis, which does not have these side effects.

Pharmacological treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis is divided into disease- modifying antirheumatic drugs, anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics.

Disease- modifying antirheumatic drugs have been found to produce durable remissions and delay or halt disease progression. This is not true of anti-inflammatories and analgesics.

Common disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs used to treat RA include Humira, Remicade, and Enbrel.

Typical anti-inflammatory agents include Glucocorticoids and non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs.

Analgesics include Acetaminophen, Opiates, and Lidocaine.

Other therapies include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, joint injections, and special tools to improve hard movements.

Some other ways to relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain are to lose weight to take additional pressure off joints, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, using heat or ice, and possibly using devices such as a cane, brace, or splint.

Severely affected joints may require joint replacement surgery, such as knee replacement.

However, when drugs and surgery compound problems of rheumatoid arthritis rather than solve them, many people find relief by making consistent, lifelong changes to diet and lifestyle.

Many natural healing practitioners attribute rheumatoid arthritis to toxemia, which can be caused by several things, including but not limited to the many poisons that enter our systems through food, air, and skin.

The course of the disease varies greatly from patient to patient. Some patients have mild short-term symptoms, but in most the disease is progressive for life.

 


POINTS TO REMEMBER

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, multi system, and inflammatory autoimmune disorder that will bring on an attack to the joints.

Risk Factors: Family History, Gender, Age

Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Lung disease
  • Thinning of bones
  • Heart problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Tests for Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Blood Test – rheumatoid factor
  • X-ray

Some Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Stretching
  • Aqua Therapy
  • Tai Chi
  • Pharmacological Treatment
  • Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs or (DMARDS)
  • Anti-inflammatory agents
  • Analgesics

TAKEAWAY QUESTIONS

– Are you familiar of the symptoms and risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis?

– Does knowing more about rheumatoid arthritis help you understand someone who are affected by it?

– Do you know other safe and effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis?


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