What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis – The Fast Facts
Rheumatoid arthritis is commonly known to be an inflammatory form of arthritis, which is chronic in nature and is characterized by swelling, redness and pain in the joints. The diseases have been classified as a typical autoimmune disease, wherein the immune cells tend to attack the healthy tissues of the body. The joints are, however, the worst effected parts in case of rheumatoid arthritis and the condition is very painful. Nonetheless, if rheumatoid arthritis is systemic, it can as well affect the internal organs of the body as well.
Researchers have been working for ages now to identify the exact cause of such an abnormal autoimmune behavior related to rheumatoid arthritis. Not one single cause can be pointed out. Nevertheless, the common theories hold that genetic factors can be responsible for the initiation of the disease. But apart from that, the solid reason that probably causes the painful condition has not been identified.
The common symptoms that you would note in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are:
Pain in the joints.
Swelling of the joints or effusion.
Stiffness of the joints.
Redness and warmth and the affected joint/s.
Limited motion range.
Pain in the joints is one of the early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Morning stiffness is also a potential symptom and it lasts for more than one hour, you should know that the condition is serious. Sometimes, the small bones of either the hands or the feet or both might also be affected. Rheumatoid arthritis also leads to extreme fatigue, symmetrical involvement of joints, which means both your knees would be affected and not just one and also rheumatoid nodules. These are some of the basic rheumatoid arthritis characteristics.
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be diagnosed by one single test; the process of diagnosis usually involves a series of lab tests including X-rays and other such diagnosis tools. A combined test result, a thorough clinical examination and finally the medical history of the patient altogether would lead to the proper diagnosis and determination of rheumatoid arthritis.
Some of the commonly conducted lab tests are:
Diagnosis of the Rheumatoid factor (RA or RF)
C-reactive protein test.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate test.
However, MRIs and X-rays are done much before the above mentioned test and also during the process of diagnosis to have a proper knowledge of the state of the joint/s.
Arthritis medicines are primarily used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Every patient would be evaluated by the rheumatologist and then a course the treatment would be planned. Besides medications and drugs, some complementary treatment options might as well be advised by the doctor.
The commonly used medications are:
DMARDs or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
Biologics like Enbrel, Rixutan, Humira and Orencia.
NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen and Celebrex.
Corticosteroids like hydrocortisone and prednisone.
Analgesics or pain relievers.
Rheumatoid arthritis is very common in America and almost 2.1 million Americans have been suffering from this painful condition. Women however, are mostly affected by this condition than men. Almost 75% of the people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are woman.
Rheumatoid arthritis happens to be a chronic and potentially disabling condition, and spreading awareness about this disease is a must. Learning more about the symptoms and the impact of the disease would be an eye-opener for the patients.
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