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What is Rheumatoid Arthritis And Its Causes

One of the many ailments that affect us as we age is Arthritis, and there are many different types of Arthritis in this post; I will be looking at one of them, rheumatoid Arthritis.

There are different types of Arthritis, up to 100 types, but the most common are rheumatoid Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and septic Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common type of Arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease that affects 1% of the whole earth’s population, which is equivalent to over 75 million people suffering from this disease which are suffering from this disease. It is chronic, which means a stable condition with intermittent periods of remission and exacerbation.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. It typically results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Pain and stiffness often worsen following rest. The wrist and hands are most commonly involved, with the same joints typically involved on both sides of the body. Wikipedia

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid Arthritis


Signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis may include:

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
  • Fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite

Early Rheumatoid Arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first — particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet.

As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.

About 40 percent of people with Rheumatoid Arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don’t involve the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect many non-joint structures, including:

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Salivary glands
  • Nerve tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels

Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go.

Periods of increased disease activity, called flares, alternate with periods of relative remission — when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.

How does rheumatoid Arthritis affect your body

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is more than just joint pain. This chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease mistakenly causes your body to attack healthy joints and leads to widespread inflammation.

While RA is notorious for causing joint pain and inflammation, it can cause other symptoms throughout the body.

RA is a progressive autoimmune disease that mainly affects your joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 1.5 million U.S. people live with RA.

Anyone can get RA, but it generally begins between 30 and 60. It also tends to affect women nearly three times more than men.

The exact cause of RA is unknown, but genetics, infections, or hormonal changes may play a role.

Disease-modifying medications can help slow the progression of RA. Other drugs, combined with lifestyle changes, can help manage the effects and, in turn improve your overall quality of life.

Skeletal system

One of the first signs of RA is inflammation of the smaller joints in the hands and feet. Most of the time, symptoms affect both sides of the body simultaneously.

Common symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness, which are more pronounced in the morning. Morning RA pain can last for 30 minutes or longer.

RA can also cause tingling or burning sensations in the joints. Symptoms can come and go in “flares” followed by a period of remission, but the initial stages can last at least six weeks.

Symptoms of RA can occur in any of the body’s joints, including your:

  • fingers
  • wrists
  • shoulders
  • elbows
  • hips
  • knees
  • ankles
  • toes

RA can also result in:

  • bunions
  • claw toes
  • hammer toes

As the disease progresses, cartilage and bone are damaged and destroyed. Eventually, supporting tendons, ligaments, and muscles weaken. This can lead to a limited range of motion or difficulty moving the joints properly. In the long term, joints can become deformed.

Having RA also puts you at greater risk of osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. This, in turn can increase your risk of bone fractures and breaks.

Chronic inflammation of the wrists can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, making it difficult to use your wrists and hands. Weakened or damaged neck or cervical spine bones can cause chronic pain.

Circulatory system

RA can also affect the system responsible for making and transporting blood throughout your body.

A simple blood test can reveal the presence of an antibody called the rheumatoid factor. Not all people with the antibody develop RA, but it’s one of many clues doctors use to diagnose this condition.

RA increases your risk for anemia. This is due to the decreased production of red blood cells. You may also have a higher risk of blocked or hardened arteries.

In rare cases, RA can lead to inflammation of the sac around the heart (pericarditis), the heart muscle (myocarditis), or even congestive heart failure.

A rare but serious complication of RA is inflammation of the blood vessels (rheumatoid vasculitis, or RA rash). Inflamed blood vessels weaken and expand or narrow, interfering with blood flow. This can lead to nerves, skin, heart, and brain problems.

Skin, eyes, and mouth

Rheumatoid nodules are hard lumps caused by inflammation that appear under the skin, usually near joints. They can be bothersome but typically aren’t painful.

According to the Sjogren’s Foundation, as many as 4 million U.S. people have an inflammatory disease called Sjogren’s syndrome. About half of these individuals also have RA or a similar autoimmune disease. When the two conditions are present, it’s called secondary Sjogren’s syndrome.

Respiratory system

RA increases the risk of inflammation or scarring of the linings of the lungs (pleurisy) and damage to lung tissue (rheumatoid lung). Other problems include:

  • blocked airways (bronchiolitis obliterans)
  • fluid in the chest (pleural effusion)
  • high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
  • scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis)
  • rheumatoid nodules on the lungs

Other systems

The pain and discomfort of RA can make it difficult to sleep. RA may lead to extreme fatigue and a lack of energy. In some cases, RA flare-ups can cause flu-like symptoms such as:

  • short-term fever
  • sweating
  • lack of appetite

Early diagnosis and treatment may help slow the progression of RA. Disease-modifying medications, symptom relievers, and lifestyle changes can significantly improve your quality of life.

Treatments FOR RA

Healthy joints are the “hinges” that let you move around. Many of us take that for granted. However, these simple movements aren’t always automatic or easy when you have RA. They can be painful.

The goals and treatments used by physical and occupational therapists sometimes overlap, but there are some general differences.

Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The goal of it is to keep you moving. It uses exercise and other methods to stimulate muscles, bones, and joints. The result is more strength, tone, and overall fitness.

Physical therapists understand the mechanics of bones, joints, and muscles working together, the problems that can happen, and what to do about them. It’s a good idea to work with a therapist, whether you’ve had RA for a long time or are newly diagnosed, no matter how severe it is.

Exercise. This is the cornerstone of any physical therapy plan. It will match your ability and fitness level and include flexibility, strength, and cardio.

Heat or ice. Treating inflamed or painful joints with heat or ice packs helps some people feel better.

Massage. It can also help you feel better.

Motivation and encouragement. It’s a big plus to have a pro to cheer you on and push you to keep going.

Occupational Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

This helps you stay independent. A therapist will check to see what you need help with. Then, he can teach you better or easier ways to accomplish those things.

Occupational therapists can recommend or provide solutions if activities like dressing, cooking, or bathing become hard or painful. Assistive devices are products or improvements that make everyday tasks easier.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet

There is no specific diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis, but it is suggested that the Paleo diet would be perfect for Arthritis sufferers

Eat food that fights inflammation. some of these are beans, Broccoli, Cherries, Citrus Fruits,

fish, Nuts, Ginger, Green Tea, Soy, Turmeric, Whole Grains

Thank you for your time and comments; I do hope you found this post informative,

.NOTE:  This post includes affiliate links, which, if clicked on and a product purchased, I get a small commission (with no increase in cost to you)


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