What is a Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory form of arthritis which causes joint pain, swelling and damage. Keep reading to learn more about RA and the best way to treat it.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system can no longer function properly and attacks the lining of the joints, known as synovium. This disease commonly affects the knees, hands, or ankles, and usually the same joint on either side of the body, for example, both hands or knees. RA also causes problems in parts of the body like in the eyes, heart and circulatory system and/or the lungs.
For reasons researchers can’t fully establish, more women than men get RA, especially during their middle age. The disease can also be hereditary.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
We all probably know that the immune system fights invaders which include bacteria and viruses. What happens is that an autoimmune disease like RA, gets attacked by the immune system because it mistakes the body’s cells for foreign invaders and therefore releases inflammatory chemicals which attack those cells. It attacks the synovium, which is the tissue lining around the joint, known for producing a fluid to help the joint move smoothly and efficiently. The inflamed synovium becomes thicker and renders the joint area painful and tender and appears red and swollen. Moving such a joint may be difficult.
So far, researchers have not established why people develop RA. They think some people may have certain genes which get activated by a trigger in the environment, for example, a virus or bacteria, emotional or physical stress or some other external factor.
Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthristis
- Stiffness in two or more joints
- Pain or aching in some joints
- Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint
- The same symptoms on both sides of the body, for instance, in both hands or both knees
- Weight loss
Health Effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Eyes: Dryness, inflammation, pain, redness, sensitivity to light and trouble seeing well.
- Skin: Rheumatoid nodules, which are small lumps under the skin over bony parts.
- Mouth: Irritation, infection and dryness and gum inflammation.
- Lungs: Inflammation and scarring which can result in shortness of breath and lung disease.
- Heart: Inflammation can cause damage to the heart muscle and the surrounding areas.
- Blood: An unusually lower number of red blood cells.
- Blood vessels: Inflammation of blood vessels which can result in damage in the nerves, skin and some other organs.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosed?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is diagnosed by reviewing signs and symptoms, conducting a physical exam, and doing X-rays and lab tests. Diagnosing RA early on, within 6 months of the onset of the symptoms, is important. This helps those with the disease to begin treatment to slow or stop its progression (for example, damage to joints). Diagnosis and effective treatments, mostly treatment to suppress or control inflammation, can help in reducing the damaging effects of RA.
If you are suffering from arthritis of any kind, please contact us for a 100% organic treatment.