Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder resulting from the chronic inflammation of joints as well as other body systems like eyes, skin, lungs, heart and blood vessels.
- Swelling of joints which become tender and warm
- Stiffness of joints usually after inactivity and after sleep in morning
- Decrease appetite, low grade fever, weakness
- Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the small joints of the wrist and fingers first. Later it affects other large joints of the body even on both sides of body.Other sites of body are also affected by inflammation like skin, blood vessels, heart, kidney, salivary glands, nerve tissues, bone marrow.
This type of arthritis developes due to overactive immune system of the body which attacks the linning around the joint known as synovium. As a result it thickens and destroys the cartilage and bone of the joint. There are some prove that it may be due to some genetic or environmental factors like bacterial or viral infection.
This condition can cause following concerning complications:
- Nodules development anywhere in the body from joints to lungs
- Dryness of eyes and mouth
- Abnormal body composition
- Carpal tunnel syndrome affecting wrist joint
- Heart and lungs problem
- Lymphoma development
Diagnosis depends upon the detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of patient. Other tests and investigations include:
- Blood tests detecting the erythrocyte sedimentation rate(ESR) or C-reactive protein (CRP),rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.
- Imaging tests including X-Ray, ultrasound of the joints
Following are some major treatment options:
- However, there is no proper cure for this condition but early medication can increase the remission period. Medications include: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), corticosteroids, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), biological agents [ abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), anakinra (Kineret), baricitinib (Olumiant), certolizumab (Cimzia) ]
- Physical therapy
- Surgery is sometimes considered including synovectomy, tendon repair, joint fusion and total joint replacement.
- Be active and exercise regularly.
- You can apply heat pads for easing the inflammation and painful muscles and cold pads for dulling the pain sensation.
- Do meditation to cope up with the stress and try to relax