According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks joints throughout the body. It can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, inflammation and loss of function in the joints. It most often affects the arm joints and both side of the body is likely to be affected by it. In severe cases, it can also lead to problems with other organs in the body. While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis and treatment can help lessen its effects and prevent the damage. With the right treatment plan, many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis lead full and productive lives. So, let’s take a closer look at this debilitating disease.
In this blog post, we will be discussing rheumatoid arthritis, what it is, the causes, symptoms and treatments.
What are the major causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
RA is an autoimmune disease and is the result of your immune system attacking healthy tissues of body. If you are diagnosed with RA, your immune system directs antibodies to your joint linings. The directed antibodies ambush the lining tissues of your joints, causing the synovial cells to add to inflammation.
Genetics also play an important role in development of rheumatoid arthritis. The exact cause is not clear but it is thought that people with family history are more likely to develop this condition than those without one. Environmental factors like smoking increases the risks of developing the disease further.
How to detect Rheumatoid Arthritis?
RA is a chronic disease which can be detected by symptoms of pain in the joints and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms usually affect your wrist, knee and hand joints, but can also affect organs and tissues throughout the body.
Following are the major symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:
- Prolonged pain in more than one joint
- Stiffness in joints
- Swelling and tenderness in joints
- Deformities and loss of joint function
- Appetite loss
Above mentioned symptoms can be either severe or mild. It is crucial not to ignore your symptoms. Knowledge of early signs of rheumatoid arthritis will aid you and your orthopedic surgeon to treat it better. You can find orthopedic surgeons near your home by simply searching for “orthopedic doctor near me” or “best orthopedic doctor near me”.
Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis
The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis can be done by several methods, but none are perfect – some tests have high specificity while being low in sensitivity and vice-versa. Also, different conditions can lead to similar symptoms making diagnosis even more complicated. There are blood tests that help identify antibodies that are seen in about 65% of rheumatic patients, which include antinuclear antibodies (ANA), perinuclear ANA (pANCA), anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA).
Although, no single test can confirm the condition of rheumatoid arthritis. Your rheumatologist may recommend several different types of tests.
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
There’s no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis but can be limited with many effective treatments which can help the patients to minimise or prevent damage.
Patients and rheumatologists can be seen adjusting to the treatments as they figure out the best ways to treat the conditions and slow the advancement of the disease.
Recent developments in medical technology has led to ever-improving results and quality of life for the patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment can aid in managing and controlling the pain and inflammation. Following are the most common treatments practiced by orthopedic doctors:
- Home or alternative remedies
- Dietary changes
Your rheumatologist will have to work with you in order to determine the best treatment plan. You can get in touch with the famous and best orthopedic surgeons by searching for “arthritis doctor near me” or “best orthopedic surgeon near me”. To seek a second opinion, you can download the SeekMed application.