A chronic inflammatory medical condition that can damage your joints and your skin, lungs, blood vessels, eyes and heart is known as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an autoimmune disorder. It means that your body’s natural defences mistakenly attack your healthy cells.
Osteoarthritis causes wear and tear to your joints, but rheumatoid arthritis influences the lining of the joint. As a result, it causes pain and bruising, resulting in joint distortion and bone corrosion. The primary joints affected by RA are the hands, wrists and knees. It may cause long-term pain, along with inflicting a lack of balance.
The inflammation and bruising caused by rheumatoid arthritis are what attacks the other body parts. Although there is no definite cure for rheumatoid arthritis, certain medications and treatments can alleviate the symptoms to provide you with relief.
A few of the signs and symptoms exhibited by the patients of rheumatoid arthritis are:
- Stiff hands, wrists and knee joints (usually in the morning or when you wake up from sleep).
- Warm and tender joints.
- Anorexia or lack of appetite, fatigue and fever.
As the condition develops further, the symptoms will spread in your knees, wrists, ankles, hips, shoulders, etc.
More than 40% of people experience symptoms to the other parts of their body, including:
- Salivary gland
- Bone marrow
- Nerve tissue
- Blood Vessels
The symptoms of RA may vary from person to person based on several different factors ranging from age, prior disease, family history, smoking, weight, gender, etc. In addition, in rheumatoid arthritis, flares (increased disease activity) act hand-in-hand with remission. That’s why over time, it may cause joint deformity.
RA is an autoimmune medical condition. It means that your body’s natural defence system that is supposed to protect you from infections and diseases mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in your joints. As mentioned earlier, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause issues with the eyes, skin, lungs, heart, kidneys, etc.
Genes seem to be a definite factor in the condition. Genetics don’t directly inflict RA, but they have considered the reason behind the body being prone to several other medical conditions leading to RA. Infection with viruses and bacteria is quite a common factor in RA.
Here are a few factors that may pose the risk of you or your loved one being afflicted with it:
- Age: Age is considered one of the most significant factors while talking about any kind of arthritis. Even though it can occur at any age, it usually starts around the middle ages.
- Smoking: Smoking is considered a risk factor regarding several chronic medical conditions, ranging from minor coughs to cancer. It also increases the chances of getting afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, especially when you have a genetic history of the disease in your family.
- Gender: Gender is another major factor when it comes to the risk associated with several medical conditions. According to the experts, women are known to be more prone to rheumatoid arthritis than men.
- Family History: If your family member (mother, father, grandparents, etc.) suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, you might also be at risk of being afflicted by it.
- Overweight: If you are obese or even overweight, it increases the risk of you getting afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis.
Among these risk factors, age, gender and family history are non-avoidable factors. But you can decrease your risk if you quit smoking. Weight issues can also be unavoidable due to certain medical conditions or genetics.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks healthy cells. So it would be better if the condition is diagnosed effectively in its earlier stages. Here are a few steps (not in the specific order) taken by the doctors to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis:
- Medical records: First and foremost, the doctor will ask you for the symptoms you are experiencing. They will also ask about the duration and extent of these symptoms. As genetics are a big concern, they would also ask if your family members suffer from RA.
- Medical Check-up: During the physical check-up, the doctor will check for stiff joints, bruising and swelling, lack of movement, bumps under the skin, fatigue and fever.
- Blood Tests: With the blood tests, the doctor looks for the proteins related to the RA:
- Rheumatoid Factor: It is an antibody found in more than 80% of people suffering from RA.
- ESR or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate and CRP or C-reactive Protein levels help the doctor understand the inflammation level.
- Imaging Tests: Imaging tests like MRI, CT Scan, X-Ray, ultrasound, etc. They can provide doctors regarding the erosion of bones. If there is nothing significant on the test, it is considered that the condition is in its early stages.
The doctor uses these diagnosis methods to check the causes and determine the treatment approach. So it would be beneficial if you visited the doctor early on.
Homeopathy is an alternative medical science that treats medical conditions with the help of natural remedies. According to the principles of homeopathy, the body heals itself. It will provide you with relief for individual symptoms. Homeopathy helps you treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis without the side effects of traditional medications.
As explained earlier, there is no cure for the RA condition itself. But with the help of specific techniques, you can control the symptoms. Here are a few treatment techniques for rheumatoid arthritis:
- Better balance between activity and rest: With rheumatoid arthritis, you are sure to feel mild to excruciating pain in the joint. So taking a rest is necessary. It would help you sustain the energy and preserve the joints.
- Cold And Hot Therapy: Warm baths and heating pads will help you treat stiff joints. Also, cold therapy will help you alleviate the pain while reducing swelling and bruising.
- Balanced Diet: According to the experts, foods rich in antioxidants will help you moderate inflammation and pain. A few of these foods include fruits, fish, olive oil, vegetables, etc. Avoid processed and canned food to prevent inflammation.
- Exercise: Rest is necessary. But so is regular physical activity. It is necessary to have a daily exercise routine to ensure that you don’t lose flexibility in your joints.
If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned earlier, you might want to consult with a doctor immediately. The consultation would determine the extent of the condition, and the treatment will be decided upon accordingly.