Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s own immune system attacks itself. In addition to the joints, Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the skin, blood vessels, heart, and lungs.
Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, from toddlers to seniors, but usually appears between the ages of 25 and 50, It occurs three times more often in women than in men. The joints most affected are in the wrist, fingers, knees, ankles, and feet.
When the immune system attacks healthy joints, it causes inflammation of the joint lining. Inflammation of this lining can be very painful, making it difficult to walk or do regular activities such as cooking. If the disease is not treated and controlled, it can lead to permanent damage, such as joint deformity and disability.
The Rheumatoid arthritis disease can start slowly with fatigue or a sudden attack of flu-like symptoms. There may be a slight fever. Joints may feel warm to the touch and look red or swollen, They may be stiff and become painful as time passes, Pain is usually worse in the morning, when the body has been inactive for a while. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, swollen glands, burning eyes, and difficulty breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease and therefore requires lifelong treatment. This may include medication, exercise, physical therapy, and possibly surgery
Oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen or pain relief creams that are rubbed onto the skin may ease the discomfort, but they do not lessen the swelling.
NSAIDs can do both. Corticosteroids may also be helpful-some of these are taken in pill form; others are injected into the joint to treat severe pain.
A group of drugs called DMARDs (diseasemodifying anti-rheumatic drugs) can prevent further joint damage, but they cannot fix damage that has already occurred. Biologics, a form of DMARDs, are a fairly new group of drugs used to treat moderate to severe Rheumatoid arthritis They work by suppressing the immune system, so it won’t attack the body’s own tissue, However, this also makes it harder for the body to fight infection.
DMARDs are very powerful drugs, so your doctor needs to monitor you carefully while you are taking them.
For anyone with Rheumatoid arthritis, daily physical activity is important. Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joints, can help reduce pain, and controls body weight. A physical therapist can help develop an exercise routine that is best for you. Eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals helps the body fight arthritis. Rest and relaxation are important to allow healing and to reduce stress.