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Rheumatic Arthritis: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Rheumatic Arthritis

We are here to present everything you need to know about rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. It occurs when the immune system malfunctions and targets the synovium, the lining of the joints. Hands, knees, and ankles are the most prevalent sites for this condition, and it usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body, such as both hands or both knees. However, RA can affect other regions of the body as well, including the eyes, heart, circulatory system, and lungs.

The Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The immune system of a healthy person battles intruders such as germs and viruses. When a person has an autoimmune disease, such as RA, the immune system misidentifies the body’s cells as foreign invaders and releases inflammatory chemicals to fight them. The synovium, the tissue lining around a joint that creates a fluid to assist the joint in moving smoothly, is attacked by Tn RA. The inflamed synovium thickens, making the joint area uncomfortable, as well as red and swollen, and making it difficult to move the joint.

Researchers believe that people with RA have genes that are activated by a trigger in the environment, such as a virus or bacteria, physical or emotional stress, or other factors.

The Common Rheumatic Manifestations

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may not include redness or swelling in the joints in the early stages, however, those affected by it might experience soreness and pain.

These are among the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Joint discomfort, tenderness, edema, or stiffness that has lasted at least six weeks.
  • Morning stiffness that lasts at least 30 minutes.
  • There are several joints that are affected such as small joints (wrists, hands, and feet).
  • Weariness and, in some cases, a low-grade fever.
Arthritis

RA symptoms can appear and disappear. A flare occurs when there is a lot of inflammation and accompanying symptoms. A flare can last anywhere from a few days to several months.

Battle Rheumatic Arthritis Now!

Non-Pharmacologic Treatment Of RA
  • One of the ways to fight RA is by consuming nutritious foods. A well-balanced, nutritious diet that includes the recommended serving sizes of all food groups promotes health and makes maintaining a healthy weight simpler.
  • Make sure you move everyday. Make movement a part of your daily routine, even if you don’t have time to exercise. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Park in a location that requires you to walk a short distance to access the building. Take the longer route to your office meeting.

Upstairs
  • Activity and rest must be balanced. Even during a flare, it’s necessary to be physically active. However, taking a rest is especially important when  your joints are uncomfortable, swollen, or stiff. Rest aids in the reduction of inflammation and weariness. It protects your joints and keeps you energized.
  • Treatments that are both hot and cool. Heat therapies, such as heat pads or warm baths, are most effective at relieving tight joints and sore muscles. A cold compress is the best treatment for acute pain and swollen joints as it has the ability to numb and decrease inflammation in painful places.
  • Pain in your joint or muscle can be relieved with lotions, gels, or stick-on patches. Some utilize substances that irritate your nerves to distract you from the pain, while others use medicine in the form of a pill.
  • There are also a variety of techniques to relax and distract you from the pain. Meditation, deep breathing, and visualizing happy images in your mind are just a few of them. Massage can help with pain relief, muscle relaxation, and stress and anxiety relief. Acupuncture is a pain-relieving technique that includes putting small needles into the body at certain places. If needles aren’t your thing, you can try acupressure as it employs a strong pressure instead.
Massage
  • Consuming supplements can help too. Curcumin/turmeric and omega-3 fish oil supplements have been shown in studies to help with rheumatoid arthritis pain and stiffness in the morning. However, before taking any supplement, consult your doctor to discuss potential adverse effects and how they may interact with any medications you’re taking.
  • A positive attitude and a strong support system are essential. Develop a strong support system consisting of friends, family, and coworkers who can offer emotional support. Take time to do the things you enjoy to improve your mood and alleviate the pain.
Pharmacologic Treatment Of RA

The patient is first educated about the disease and the risks of joint injury and loss of function, as well as the risks and benefits of the many treatment options available. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and patient educators will be of assistance to patients. For symptom relief, nonsteroidal anti – inflammatory drugs medications (NSAIDs), glucocorticoid joint injections, and low-dose prednisone may be tried. Within three months of diagnosis, the majority of patients with newly diagnosed RA should begin treatment with a disease-modifying antirheumatic medication (DMARD).

Fresh green leaves spinach

The foods that were most frequently reported to alleviate RA symptoms were blueberries and spinach, while soda with sugar and desserts were the types of food that were most widely documented to worsen RA symptoms. Studies that report that meals alter RA symptoms was connected with being younger and stating that sleep, a warm room temperature, and vitamin/mineral supplements help with RA. Meanwhile, medication, sex, BMI, smoking, disease duration, DAS scores, and self-reported RA flares were not linked to reporting that foods affect RA flares.

As a result, over a quarter of RA patients with long-term disease said their RA symptoms were influenced most by their dietary lifestyle. 

Drug: Hydroxychloroquine

Approximate time to benefit : 2–6 months

Usual maintenance dose : 200 mg twice a day

Drug: Sulfasalazine

Approximate time to benefit : 1–3 months

Usual maintenance dose : 1,000 mg 2–3 times a day

Drug: Methotrexate

Approximate time to benefit : 1–2 months

Usual maintenance dose : Oral 7.5–20 mg/week; injectable 7.5–20 mg/week

Drug: Leflunomide

Approximate time to benefit : 4–12 weeks (skewed earlier)

Usual maintenance dose : 20 mg/day in a single dose, if tolerated; otherwise, 10 mg/day

Drug: Etanercept

Approximate time to benefit : A few days to 12 weeks

Usual maintenance dose : 25 mg subcutaneously twice a week