Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease and long lasting disease that affects joints. In autoimmune disease, immunity cells in blood target their own body tissues and may also cause inflammation. It can affect multiple organs of the body. It most commonly occurs between 40-60 yrs of ages. If rheumatoid arthritis appears before the 16yrs of age, it is called as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).
Causes for rheumatoid arthritis are not known but the genetic components might be likely. These genes does not actually cause rheumatoid arthritis but they can make one more susceptible to environmental factors, like viral or bacterial infections, may trigger RA. Rheumatoid arthritis may occur if it is prevalent in family.
Pain in joints (Feet, knees and hands)
Swelling, redness or warmth in joints
Tenderness & stiffness in joints
Fever & fatigue
Loss in joint function
Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
Both Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis affects joints and their functions. In rheumatoid arthritis, immune system attacks the lining of the joints by mistake, that results into swelling and deformed joints. Osteoarthritis is a result of wear-and-tear, that damage the cartilage that caps the bones in joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects middle joints of the fingers and joints where fingers attach to the hand. Osteoarthritis puts its effects on joints present at the ends of the fingers and at the base of the thumb.
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects same joints on both the side of the body (symmetry). Osteoarthritis can affect any one hand or knee.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Treatments that block inflammatory factors such as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF alpha), functions of B and T-cell and Interleukins (IL-1). NSAIDs are also effective in rheumatoid arthritis pain. Some may require surgery for correction of joint damage. Joint Therapist teach exercises for flexibility. DMARD (Disease Modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs) may be recommended to reduce overactivity of immune system. Or biologics or steroids may be recommended. Nutritional supplements might be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis.
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