This article was originally written by Mansi Gupta
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What is meant by Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very commonly found form of arthritis. It is a disease that gets worsened over a period of time and leads to painful swelling and permanent damage in the joints of the body particularly the fingers, wrists, feet and ankle. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease i.e. a disease in which the body’s immune system damages its own tissues. The injured tissues cause reddening, swelling and pain in the particular area. Apart from inflammatory joints, this disease can even hit one’s internal organs such as lungs, eyes and heart. It is therefore a systemic ailment that often produces excruciating intolerable pain.
People prone to Rheumatoid Arthritis
Women especially between 20 to 60 years of age are more susceptible to develop Rheumatoid arthritis due to the innumerable hormonal alterations in their body because of various reasons. However, young and the old, anyone can be afflicted by this autoimmune systemic disease.
Symptoms and Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Pain, irritation, stiffness, extreme weariness after doing day’s work and even swelling of joints, mark the onset of arthritis. If the situation deteriorates gradually, it is definitely Rheumatoid arthritis.
Contrary to gradual development, in some cases the disease might just hit within few seconds with inflammation and fever.
The stiffness of joints and tiredness because of Rheumatoid arthritis is extreme and hampers the individual’s daily activities. The problem may trouble more during winter season.
A burning pain in the joints (left or right hand, cartilage and bone etc.) that prolongs for six weeks or more at a stretch indicates Rheumatoid Arthritis. But if the pain travels to individual’s sacroiliac joints of lower back or to the upper spine, the disease is other than this one
Factors that invoke the disease
No strict causes for Rheumatoid Arthritis have been discovered as yet. But investigations and experience have revealed many some constantly occurring or usual factors that have led to its development.
The individual with a family history of Rheumatoid Arthritis is greatly liable to be afflicted by it. But particularly what infested thing gets passed on from affected ancestors to the patient still needs to be explored.
Acute stress is supposed to be another reason behind Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Different viruses such as mononucleosis can cause Rheumatoid Arthritis. Other than this, infections like strep throat lead to the ailment.
Prevention and Cures
Diagnosis commences with some crucial tests. These tests determine the severity or the stage of rheumatoid arthritis for the individual. Once rheumatoid arthritis is confirmed, anti-rheumatic drugs are prescribed. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen etc. are prescribed initially and more often to those who are suffering from mild form of the disease. But when the case gets worse, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs are given. Corticosteroids like prednisone, narcotics; chemotherapy drugs for instance Cytoxan; anti-organ rejection medicines such as cyclosporine are examples of DMARDs. Arava, Enbrel or Etanercept and Methotrexate are by and large recommended medicines to patients of Rheumatoid arthritis. But as many other antibiotics, these drugs too have numerous side-effects which should be borne in mind before advising them.
Besides medicines patients even find therapies like acupressure and acupuncture quite relieving. In many cases of Rheumatoid arthritis, patients also desire to go for a surgery