Arthritis means “joint inflammation,” and the disease has many related conditions or forms. The most common type of autoimmune arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), refers to the body’s immune system attacks joint tissues. RA is the most common autoimmune disease, affecting approximately 0.8% of the population. The causes are still not fully understood in the medical community, but according to theories an infection or virus is a trigger, but none of these theories has proven.
Rheumatoid arthritis most often starts in the hands, then advances to the wrists, shoulders, elbows, feet, and hips.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms:
Pain, stiffness, fatigue, weakness, slight fever, dry mouth, loss of appetite, depression and inflamed tissue lumps under the skin.
The disease generally develops symmetrically, i.e., affecting the same joints on both the left and right sides of the body.
A person is more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis if a sibling or parent had it.
RA can affect any age group. However, while there is no specific age for people when they develop this disease, it seems to focus on those over 45 years of age.
And, while neither gender is immune, a much higher percentage of cases occur with women.
Furthermore, your state of health, particularly your weight, plays a crucial role in the development of this painful illness. People with excess weight tend to develop it more often, especially in the knees when reaching over 55 years of age.
RA is diagnosed by blood test results, examining the joints and organs, and by x-ray or ultrasound images.
Treatment and Perspectives:
Although there is still no cure for this illness, people are living in a better life now with RA than in the past. There are a variety of treatments available for RA patients: DMARDs, NSAIDs, corticosteroids.
The goals of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment:
- Stop inflammation
- Relieve symptoms
- Prevent joint and organ damage
- Improve physical function and overall well-being
- Reduce long-term complications
The first strategy is to reduce or stop inflammation as quickly as possible.
The ultimate goal is to stop it and achieve remission, meaning minimal or no signs or symptoms of active inflammation. One strategy to achieve this goal is called “treat to target.”
Getting disease activity to a low level and keeping it there is what is called having “tight control of RA.” Research shows that tight control can prevent or slow the pace of joint damage. (1)
Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-care
Aside from prescription medicines, natural remedies, joint replacement, and physical therapy, also, self-care plans are necessary for maintaining RA in tight control. Generally, keeping a healthy weight, doing gentle regular exercises, having proper nutrition, and rest when having pain or feeling exhausted will help to keep the inflammation under control.
Some foods with anti-inflammatory properties may help ease pain and discomfort — for example, Mediterranean foods, oily-fish, turmeric (2), olive-oil, Soy, beans, pomegranate. Drinking herbal tea for rheumatism is also helpful.
Losing weight lessen the pressure on your joints and reduces pain. Regular light exercise also reduces the pain, strengthening joints and muscles and reducing joint wear.
If you presume you may have arthritis, it is prudent to seek medical advice as soon as possible. The sooner got diagnosed with the type of arthritis the better off you’ll be. Untreated RA causes complications and permanent damage to the joints, heart, skin, lungs, and kidneys. It also shorters lifespan. People with RA have a 100% greater risk of heart disease than the general population
- “Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment” Arthritis Foundation https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis/treatment.php
- “Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials” | NCBI | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003001/