Rheumatic Arthritis, aka, Rheumatoid Arthritis or simply Rheumatism is a degenerative disease of the joint health. This autoimmune disease is one of the severe forms of arthritis. RA is an inflammatory arthritis, characterized by pain, inflammation, stiffness and discomfort in the joints. In a majority of cases, it affects the knee joints, but the severity of the disease can affect any joints of the body. In fact, the linings of the joints are targeted by weakened immune system. Here is your comprehensive guide on causes, treatment and prevention of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The exact or precise causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not known. Sill, physicians and researchers are working to identify the root cause of the disease. According to the clinical studies, it is regarded that RA may be caused due to environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors. Besides, RA may either be a bacterial or viral infection, or triggered by the infection.
Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis
When the condition progresses, it creates a confusion in the body. A protein synthesized in the body is mistaken as an intruder by the immune system. The mistaken identity forces the immune system to attack the health tissues of the body, causing chronic inflammation and stiffness of the joints. The joints gradually lose it shape when the ligaments holding the joints gradually deteriorate.
The inflammation and stiffness of the joints may appear in knee joints. When the condition becomes severe, every joint in the body, from knee joints to finger joints swell and becomes stiff prohibiting the movements. It could lead to permanent deformity of the joints in the body.
Severity of the symptoms of this condition is not proportionate to the severity of the symptoms. A chronic condition may not show up severe symptoms and vice versa.
There are patients who lived for more than 10 years without any specific symptoms. Being a progressive disease, the condition may gradually lead to dysfunction, deformity and destruction of the joints.
Rheumatism may invite other chronic degenerative diseases of the bones and tissues, affecting different parts of the body.
Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Every individual in the world is exposed with the risk of getting Rheumatoid arthritis. While there is immunity against developing this condition, women have the higher risk than men. Unfortunately, women accounts for around 70 percent of rheumatic population in the world.
Ageing is a common cause of rheumatic arthritis. It is caused due to normal wear and tear of the joint health.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inherited condition and it runs in genes. If you have a family member suffered or suffering from RA, you may develop the condition sooner or later.
How to treat rheumatoid arthritis?
Apparently, no immune disorder has effective treatment aiming at complete cure and Rheumatoid arthritis is not an exception. Still, the treatment is focused on alleviating the symptoms of the condition, preventing the further progression and reducing the damages to the joints.
Disease modifying drugs are used as primary treatment option for RA. Besides, RA treatment is generally a combination of anti-inflammatory pills, analgesics and rarely steroids. Exercises play a vital role in strengthening the ligaments and muscles, which improves mobility and reduces the pain. Stretching exercises could be highly beneficial to ease away the rheumatic pain.
A surgery may be called to replace the joints when the other treatment options failed to improve the condition. No single treatment or drug works for all.
Alternative medications like Ayurvedic therapies, acupuncture, acupressure, etc could treat the inflammation and the pain.
Degree of the defect, actual health condition of the patient, lifestyle, environment, etc influence the treatment options.
Unfortunately, this chronic inflammatory arthritis has no preventive measures. The only option available is to reduce the risk factors, eat nutritious foods to keep your immune system stronger and stay healthy by doing exercises regularly.