Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Top 10 Myths about Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and eventual joint damage and deformity. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on the joints over time, RA is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, including the synovium (the lining of the membranes that surround the joints).
It can be challenging to effectively diagnose rheumatoid arthritis if it is in the early stages. This is because the condition develops over time, and only a certain symptoms may exist in the initial stages. Also, symptoms vary from patient to patient. Consequently, it is advisable to consult with the best rheumatologist near me who use various tools to effectively diagnose the ailment. The rheumatologists may use various options like medications, occupational therapy and physical therapy, surgery, complementary therapies, and regular monitoring and care to treat this disease. Irrespective of the treatment plan your rheumatologist recommend, the overall objectives are to help relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, stop organ and joint damage, and enhance your participation in daily activities.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
The exact cause of RA is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Certain genetic markers, such as specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes, increase the risk of developing RA. Environmental factors, such as infections or exposure to certain substances, may also trigger the onset of the disease in genetically susceptible individuals.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
RA can affect multiple joints in the body, and its symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Before moving forward to diagnosis and treatment options offered by a rheumatology doctors near me, let’s first look at the common signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:
- Joint Pain and Stiffness: Symmetrical joint pain and morning stiffness that lasts for more than an hour are typical early symptoms of RA.
- Swelling and Warmth: Affected joints may become swollen, tender, and warm to the touch due to inflammation.
- Joint Deformity: Over time, RA can lead to joint damage and deformity, especially in the hands, wrists, and feet.
- Fatigue and Weakness: Many people with RA experience fatigue, a general feeling of tiredness, and a loss of energy.
- Fever: Some individuals may have occasional low-grade fevers during RA flares.
- Loss of Appetite: RA-related inflammation can lead to a loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss.
- Rheumatoid Nodules: In some cases, small, firm bumps (rheumatoid nodules) may form under the skin near affected joints. If you encounter this condition, you must timely visit a super speciality hospital in Patna.
RA is a systemic disease, meaning it can affect other parts of the body as well. It can lead to inflammation in organs such as the eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Diagnosing RA involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests (such as rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies), and imaging studies (X-rays or ultrasound) to assess joint damage.
The treatment of RA aims to control inflammation, alleviate symptoms, prevent joint damage, and improve the patient's quality of life. Common treatment approaches include:
- Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologic agents are commonly used to manage inflammation and slow the progression of RA.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy helps improve joint function, reduce pain, and increase strength and flexibility.
- Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy focuses on improving daily activities and adapting tools or techniques to reduce joint strain. The best hospital in Patna specializes in providing occupational therapy for treating Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and managing stress, can support RA management.
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in RA to prevent joint damage and disability. Regular follow-up with a rheumatologist is important to monitor disease progression and adjust the treatment plan as needed. RA management is often individualized, and the goal is to achieve remission or low disease activity to improve the patient's overall well-being.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex condition, and several myths and misconceptions surround it. Here are the Top 10 Myths about Rheumatoid Arthritis
- RA only affects the elderly: While RA is more common in older adults, it can occur at any age, including in children and young adults.
- RA is the same as osteoarthritis: RA and osteoarthritis are different conditions. RA is an autoimmune disease, while osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Make sure to understand this difference before contacting an Apollo hospital in Patna for treating Rheumatoid arthritis.
- RA is just arthritis and causes minor joint pain: RA is a systemic disease that can affect multiple joints and lead to inflammation, joint damage, and even organ involvement.
- RA is caused by cold weather or dampness: Weather changes do not cause RA, although some people may experience increased joint pain during certain weather conditions.
- RA can be cured with diet or supplements: While a healthy diet and lifestyle can support RA management, there is no cure for RA. Treatment is focused on controlling symptoms and preventing joint damage.
- Exercise will worsen joint damage: Regular exercise is beneficial for people with RA, as it helps improve joint flexibility, strength, and overall function. Low-impact exercises are usually recommended.
- Only hands and feet are affected by RA: RA can affect any joint in the body, including wrists, knees, elbows, shoulders, and hips. If you experience joint damage, a rheumatologist at Patna best hospital can provide accurate treatment.
- RA is not a serious condition: RA is a chronic disease that can lead to significant joint damage, disability, and even systemic complications if left untreated.
- RA is just a normal part of aging: While joint pain may increase with age, RA is not a normal part of aging and should be evaluated and treated by a rheumatologist.
- Biologic medications are dangerous and harmful: Biologic medications are an essential treatment option for many people with RA. When used appropriately and under medical supervision, they can effectively control inflammation and improve quality of life.
It's important to rely on accurate and evidence-based information about rheumatoid arthritis. If you or someone you know has RA or is experiencing symptoms, it's crucial to consult a rheumatologist for proper evaluation, diagnosis, and management. Early and appropriate treatment from the best rheumatologist near me can help improve outcomes and reduce the impact of RA on daily life.
Rheumatoid arthritis may begin causing joint damage usually during the first or second year that a patient has the disease. If the joint damage occurs, it can’t be reversed. It is therefore recommended to have timely diagnosis and treatment. A lot of medications that rheumatologist prescribe to treat this disease are easy to follow. They may recommend surgery if you face permanent damage or ache that restricts your ability to undertake day-to-day activities. Remember that surgery is not suitable for everyone. Hence, before making changes to your activity or diet, make sure to consult your rheumatologist regarding the most appropriate treatment option.