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Rheumatoid arthritis is a well known condition that affects quite an alarming number of people across the globe. Only in the United States alone, somewhere around 1.5 million people have been diagnosed with this disease. Three times more women than men are confronted with RA. While in women this condition can appear after the age of 30, among men it occurs later in life. Those who suspect they might experience rheumatoid arthritis themselves, might find useful reading the following information:
RA – rheumatoid arthritis – can be shortly defined as an autoimmune condition. The body’s immune system naturally keeps its health protected by attacking any foreign substances, such as viruses or bacteria. The disease is triggered when the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective linings of the joints. This will automatically cause inflammation, making the joint lines to thicken, and thus causing pain and swelling, the likelihood of the bones and cartilage breaking down being very high. When the inflammation is left untreated the effect it will have on the cartilage and bones can lead to loss of mobility and joint deformity. Because it is not possible for joint damage to be reversed, the disease needs to be spotted early in order for the patient to start the necessary treatment.
When the rheumatoid arthritis is at an early stage, managing to notice any swelling or redness around the joints might not be possible, but one can experience pain or tenderness. However, there are quite a few symptoms that might help a potential patient suspect they are confronted with RA:
Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect certain body systems and organs in the following ways:
Besides pain, redness or other clear indicators of this condition, some people might also experience a state of fatigue, a low fever, and even a loss in appetite. The symptoms will go eventually, but reappear later. A longer period of time during which a patients deal with intense signs is called a flare, which can last even moths.
Based on symptoms and signs, either the patients theses or a care physician might suspect rheumatoid arthritis being present. However, the one who can actually put a clear diagnosis is a rheumatologist, an expert who actually has the training, qualification and resources necessary to identify the condition. Because there is not just one test that can provide accurate results, and because RA can easily resemble to other inflammatory problems, the specialist usually asks information about medical and family history, performs a physical exam and later orders certain diagnostic tests.
Through a cumulation of these methods, a doctor who specializes in this medical field is able to provide a RA diagnosis.
It has been stated that an abnormal response of the immune system is the one that plays an essential role in the joint damage and inflammation that appears with RA. Although the exact causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not yet been fully discovered by researchers, there are a few factors that are known to heighten a person’ risks of facing rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers continue to investigate the condition, in order to find other factors that thigh play a role.
Although at an early stage, the progress of Rheumatoid Arthritis can be stopped, preventing the disease from causing any major, worrying repercussion, when it is left untreated, RA increases one’s risks of dealing with the following:
In the case of any patient, the role of RA a treatment is to relive symptoms, stop inflammation, prevent further joint or organ damage, reduce the risk of dealing with potential complications, and improve well being – basically to put the condition into remission. Although there is no exact cure for this disease, in order to actually access the desired treatment goals, doctors usually resort to the following treatment options or strategies:
Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be often challenging, but there are few things patients are able to do in order to experience lesser unpleasant symptoms and manage comping with the disease. Besides the treatment prescribed by specialists, self-management and self-care are also extremely relevant, being quite important in maintaining a proper quality of life. To promote overall health, and keep symptoms to minimal, besides taking prescribed medications patients should also focus on the following:
Unfortunately, Rheumatoid Arthritis is not the type of condition once can prevent, due to its yet not entirely discovered causes. However, patients can keep it from aggravating and stop or slow the progression of the condition with an easy, aggressive treatment.