What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation leading to redness, warmth, swelling, and pain in the joint. Rheumatoid Arthritis develops when the body fails to differentiate the body’s own tissues from foreign pathogens. This causes immune cells to migrate from the blood into the joints and synovium, the joint-lining tissue. There, they produce inflammatory substances that cause irritation, wearing down of cartilage (the cushioning between joint articulations), swelling, and inflammation of the joint-lining. This results in build-up of fluid in the joint that can lead to bone damage. Unlike other forms of arthritis;
• A distinguishing characteristic of Rheumatoid Arthritis is symmetric inflammation, for instance, inflammation in both hands and both knees.
• On the other hand, osteoarthritis, another common form of arthritis, occurs as a result of physical strain on joint tissues. Consequently, it occurs more prominently on the side of the body incurring the most strain.
How to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis?
These self-care measures, when used along with your rheumatoid arthritis medications, can help you manage
your signs and symptoms:
• Take control. With your doctor, make a plan for managing your arthritis. This will help you feel in charge of your disease.
• Exercise regularly. Gentle exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, and it can
help fight fatigue you might feel. Check with your doctor before you start exercising. If you’re just getting started, begin by taking a walk. Try swimming or gentle water aerobics. Avoid exercising tender, injured or severely inflamed joints.
• Apply heat or cold. Heat can help ease your pain and relax tense, painful muscles. Cold may dull the
sensation of pain. Cold also has a numbing effect and decreases muscle spasms.
• Relax. Find ways to cope with pain by reducing stress in your life. Techniques such as guided imagery, distraction and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis :
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects everyone differently, so the types and severity of symptoms vary greatly depending on the person. For some patients, Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms develop gradually over the course of several years while other experience a sudden onset. The most common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis include:
Fatigue | Aprttite loss | Muscles & Joint Bones | Hoarse voice | Rheumatoid Nodules | Symmetric Arthritis | Morning Stiffness | Post-sedentary Stiffness | Red/Swollen Joints | Bone Deformity
Risk Factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis :
• Gender : Women are 3 times more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis than men. However, men typically experience more severe symptoms.
• Age : Rheumatoid Arthritis most commonly occurs between the ages of 40-60 years old.
• Family History : Women who have never been pregnant and those who have recently given birth have an increased risk. Individuals with first-degree relatives (mother, father, brother, or sister) with Rheumatoid Arthritis have a 2-to-3 fold increased risk for the disease.
• Obesity : People who are overweight or obese appear to be at somewhat higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, especially in women diagnosed with the disease when they were 55 or younger.
What are the tests related to Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Blood tests: • Alkaline Phosphatase C-Reactive Protein (CRP) • Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) • Rheumatoid Factor (RF) • Anti-CCP Antibody • Uric Acid • Calcium • Vitamin D
Imaging tests: • BMD (DXA Scan) • Digital X-Ray
Book your appointment to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis at our labs.