Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that causes an inflammatory swelling (inflammation of the painful inflammation) in your immune system, leading healthy cells in your body to attack by mistake, thus the immune system targets your joint linings.
RA affects mostly the joints, frequently numerous at a time. In the hands, wrists and knees, RA usually affects the joints. The lining of the joint is inflamed together with RA and damages the articulated tissue. This injury to the tissue can lead to persistent or chronic discomfort and instability. RA may also impact various tissues throughout the body and cause lung, heart and vision problems.
Different kinds of rheumatoid arthritis exist and your treatment depends on what kind of rheumatoid arthritis you have. Studies have indicated that more than 80 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis test rheumatoid positive, which has been referred to as positive rheumatoid arthritis (or seropositive). Sometimes rheumatoid arthritis patients regularly have a negative rheumatoid test, which is also known as negative (or seronegative) rheumatoid arthritis.
- Rheumatoid factor positive (seropositive) RA
In positive blood tests for protein called rheumatoid factor (RF), your body might cause an immune response to normal tissues. The RF is normally directed towards places that include other antibodies.
- Rheumatoid factor negative (seronegative) RA
Individuals that test for antibodies or RF in the blood are called seronegative. However, they can have RA still. The diagnosis cannot just be relied on this test because it takes into consideration clinical symptoms, X-rays and other lab testing. Although there is no assurance, persons with RF-negative testing are probably milder than those with RA positive testing.
RA comes from an immunological reaction that destroys its own healthy cells through the body’s immune system. There is little knowledge of the precise causes of RA although some variables may raise the risk of the illness. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system erroneously releases antibodies to your lining, attacking the tissue around your joint. This leads the thin cell membrane (synovium) that spans your joints to become wretched and inflamed and releases chemicals that affect nearby; bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.
Possible risk factors include:
- Your genes – it may run in the families and the risk of passing onto the next generations is relatively more
- Hormones – its more common in women than men
- History of live births
- Early life exposures
Signs and Symptoms
Although RA is capable of affecting everyone, it mostly occurs among women aged 30 to 50 years and more. There are always no swelling and redness of the joints in the early phase symptoms of RA. However, there might be fine indicators of something. Some signs of the early stage are:
- Tenderness and pain in certain body parts
- A noticeable increase in fatigue
- Weakness in certain areas of your body
- Generally feeling unwell
- Swelling, redness in joints
- Morning stiffness
In addition to the morning joint rigidity, you might also suffer general joint pain stiffness during the day, especially after an inactive time. Some of the initial sites of RA rigidity are generally the handles and specific joints in your hands and feet, although discomfort and rigidity are also present in your knees or shoulders. In general, you will be affecting both sides of your body.
- Numbness, tingling
- Decrease in range of motion
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain
- Nerve or skin damage
- Dry eyes or mouth
- Rheumatoid nodules (hard lumps that grow beneath the skin)
- Weight loss
Your organs are another area that maybe get disrupted with time such as:
- Heart muscle can damage
- Lungs might become scarred
- Blood vessel can damage nerve tissue and subsequent skin
RA is diagnosed by symptoms, physical exam and X-rays and laboratory testing. RA is diagnosed. It is recommended for those who have the illness to initiate therapy in order to slow down or stop disease progressions early—6 months after symptoms begin – to diagnose RA (for example, damage to joints). Diagnosis and appropriate therapies can assist to decrease harmful consequences of RA, especially treatment to suppress or regulate inflammation. Certain tests are recommended such as;
- Blood tests – People with rheumatoid arthritis typically have a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C – reactive protein (ESR or CRP), which might suggest that an inflammatory process exists in the body. Rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic cirtullinated (ACC) antibodies are also used in other routine blood tests.
- Imaging tests – X-ray, MRI, ultrasounds etc.
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured. But clinical studies suggest that symptom remission is more likely if medication starts early known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Depending upon the severity, the doctor recommends the following medications as per need:
- NSAIDs – non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Side effects may include stomach irritation, heart problems, kidney damage.
- Steroids – corticosteroids medicines reduce inflammation and pain severity. Side effects might include bone dilution, increased weight and diabetes. Doctors often give a corticosteroid to temporarily alleviate symptoms in order to progressively absorb the drugs
- Conventional – DMARDs – These medicines can delay rheumatoid arthritis and prevent irreversible damage to the joints and other tissues.
- Biological agents – Biological DMARDs, like methotreaxte, are often most effective if used with traditional DMARDs. The danger of infections is increased by this sort of medicine.
A physical or occupational therapist might be referred to your doctor and will be able to give you exercises to maintain your joints flexible. The therapist may also recommend different techniques of performing everyday chores that will make your joints easier. You could like to take an object with your forearms, for example.
Surgery may help you to restore your joint after the usage of other medications. It includes
- Synovectomy – surgery to remove the inflamed lining of the joint
- Tendon repair
- Joint fusion
- Total joint replacement