What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?


Rheumatoid Arthritis is a form of chronic inflammatory illness that can cause a severe hazardous effect on several parts of the human body. In some people, this particular condition might cause damage to a wide variety of human body systems including that of eyes, skins, heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis or this autoimmune disorder especially happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks the human body tissues. Unlike the regular damage or wear and tear caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the inner lining of the joint while causing painful swelling that might result in joint deformity or even bone erosion. While several new medications have drastically improved all the treatment options, however, rheumatoid arthritis can still cause different types of physical disabilities.

Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

All the symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis might include:

  • Swollen, tender and warm joints.
  • Loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue.
  • Severe stiffness in the joints is usually worse in the morning, especially after inactivity.

The initial phase of rheumatoid arthritis generally affects the smaller joints first, especially those joints that join hands to the fingers, or feet to the toes. As the disease progresses, the symptoms often spread to the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, shoulders, and hips. In most cases, the symptoms occur on the same joints on different sides of the body. Approximately forty percent of the people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experience symptoms and signs that don’t involve any joints. This disease can affect several non-joint structures such as:

  • Lungs
  • Skin
  • Heart
  • Eyes
  • Kidneys
  • Bone marrows
  • Salivary glands
  • Blood vessels
  • Nervous system

The overall symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis might vary in severity and can even come and go. Furthermore, periods of increased disease activities called flares tend to alternate with periods of relative remission. Over a period of time, rheumatoid arthritis can even cause deformation and shifting in the place of joints.

How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?

In most of the cases, Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by reviewing several symptoms, while conducting a physical examination and by doing lab tests and x-rays. It is always a great idea to diagnose this disease within the initial six months of the onset of symptoms. Remember effective treatment and diagnosis can help in the control or suppression of inflammation which can further reduce the damaging effect caused by this illness.

How To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis And Improve The Overall Quality Of Life?

This particular illness might affect different aspects of life including leisure, work and even social activities. However, there are many low-cost strategies that are proven to increase overall life quality. Here are some recommendations that you need to follow if you are suffering from this disease:

  • Try to get physically active
  • Try to quit smoking
  • Join some sort of effective physical activity programs
  • Try joining self-management education classes
  • Always maintain a healthy body weight

Finding that you are suffering from a chronic disease can sometimes be a life-changing event. It can even cause worry and a feeling of depression and isolation. In case you are suffering from any of these symptoms try getting in touch to a rheumatologist at the earliest.