Rheumatoid Arthritis is defined as it is a chronic inflammation that occurs in joints. This inflammatory disorder can affect more than one joint in individual. Wide range of system organs got damage by this chronic disorder like eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. This disorder develops when immune system attacks the body tissues by mistake. It affects the lining of joints that cause a painful swelling in joints in result erosion of bone and deformity of joint happens. In severe cases, physical disability can occur due to rheumatoid arthritis. Other part of the body can also get damaged and destroyed in rheumatoid arthritis. Several medications are available in the market that can treat rheumatoid arthritis dramatically. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis will affect the other side of the body too. If rheumatoid arthritis is present in arm joint it will also affect the other side of arm or leg. And by this health care professionals can distinguish rheumatoid arthritis. If rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed earlier, higher the ratio of getting treated from medications.
Causes of Rheumatoid arthritis:
The major and main cause of rheumatoid arthritis is immune system. Immune system in our body helps us to fight with foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. In case of rheumatoid arthritis our immune system somehow attack the healthy tissues of our body which in result fail to cope up with foreign invaders and these invaders get into the lining of joints and makes the fluid thicker that helps the joint to move freely and smoothly. This inflammation makes the lining of tissue swollen and red and paint is initiated in joints which cause difficulty in moving the joint smoothly.
However, some researchers are still not sure about the cause of rheumatoid arthritis in some people. They believe that this is a genetic disease due to inherited genes sometime any environmental factor may trigger it and cause rheumatoid arthritis. Environmental factors can be any Bacteria and virus. Sometimes stress or physical factors can be responsible for rheumatoid arthritis.
Sign and symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:
Sign and symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis include the joint swelling and joint pain. Sometimes when symptoms appear in an individual, that time is called Flares. While the time symptoms are getting better, that period is called Remission. Some of the most common sign and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are:
- If your more than one joint is paining.
- Stiffness occurs in more than one joint of the body.
- Swelling in the joints
- Tenderness in more than one joint
- Same symptoms will appear on both sides of same joints like in both hands.
- Weight loss is also experienced in RA
- Weakness in body
- Tiredness and fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis
- In severe cases joint function is lost
- Deformity can happen.
Rheumatoid arthritis not only infect joints but also other body parts are get affected by it like lungs, heart, kidneys, nerve tissues, eyes, skin, bone marrow and blood vessels.
Risk factors linked with Rheumatoid arthritis:
Risk factors that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Family history
- Environmental factors
They can increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in any individual.
Diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis:
Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is time consuming as it is difficult for doctors to distinguish from other diseases. Health Care professionals use different methods to diagnose RA. First of all they will ask about the sign and symptoms you are experiencing, then your family history is taken if any of your family member is having rheumatoid arthritis. Then a physical examination is performed of your joint to check if any
- swelling or redness is present in joints
- Motion and function of joint is examined.
- Tenderness and warmth is checked by examining the joints affected.
- Muscle strength is tested
- Reflexes of joints are checked.
If any one is doubted to have rheumatoid arthritis, doctor will refer a patient to rheumatologist, who is specialist in this field.
Single test performed can never diagnose the rheumatoid arthritis so different tests are performed to identify rheumatoid arthritis.
Blood tests are performed to check the working of antibodies and some substances such as acute phase reactants are checked. Because the level of these substances might get elevates during inflammation. And this can be the sign of rheumatoid arthritis and helps in diagnosing it. Some blood tests that are recommended by rheumatologist are:
- Rheumatoid factor test
- Anticitrullinated protein antibody test
- Antinuclear antibody test
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- C-reactive protein test.
Ultrasound, MRI and X-ray is also suggested by physicians to confirm the diagnosis. These tests can show the damage of joint and also the severity of damage. Sometimes complete examination of other body parts is also recommended.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis:
As there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis that can completely recover the disease. But several medications are recommended by the physicians to minimize the symptoms and mange the disease to improve the quality of life.
Physician and patient fight toe to toe with this disease to manage the symptoms and slow down the process of this condition.
Now, treatment strategy is advanced in ways to improve the health of patients and enhance the quality of life. Treatment philosophy is used by rheumatologist that is “treat to Target rheumatoid arthritis” so they can effectively increase the positive outcomes of this disease. Remission rates are increased and symptoms are reduced by this approach. And strategy to manage this condition is:
- First of all goal is set to low the state of disease and increase remission
- Secondly acute phase reactants are tested and performed monthly to monitor the treatment progress and management scheme.
- If the condition of patient is not progressing than change in medication regimen is done promptly.
Treatment suggested for rheumatoid arthritis is to control the inflammation and lessen the pain to induce remission. When inflammation is controlled or decreased it will further prevent other organs and joints from getting damaged. Treatment given by health care professionals include
- Home remedies
- Changes in diet
- Exercise is suggested.
- Disease modifying anti- rheumatic drugs
- Janus kinase inhibitors.