Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition wherein the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy body tissue. In this disease, the immune system sends antibodies to the lining of joints and triggers the tissue surrounding the joint. Due to this, the soft tissues covering the joints become sore and inflamed. If the illness goes untreated, then it may damage the shape and alignment of the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis, unlike osteoarthritis, affects the joint linings and causes swelling and pain which may eventually lead to erosion of bones and deformed joints. The inflammation resulting from rheumatoid arthritis may damage other body parts as well.
Arthritis if aggravates further can however be debilitating. The synovium (lining fluid for the joints) gets thickened as a result of the inflammation which with time may damage the bone, cartilage and parts of the joint. The ligament and tendons holding the joints get stretched and weakened.
There are four stages of rheumatoid arthritis and each one has its own treatment options.
These are considered to be the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis:
Diagnosis in the early stages may be difficult as the early signs resemble the symptoms of other diseases. No single physical finding or blood test is there to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis.
Safest drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:
Chloroquine is not very commonly used due to its optic toxicity and so Hydroxychloroquine is the drug of choice. It is prescribed in doses of 400mg/day but sometimes 600mg/day is used as an induction dose. The drug takes about 2 to 4 weeks to work effectively. If not effective within 2-4 months, it should be discontinued and some other mode of treatment must be considered as this could have been a case of drug failure.
Since these drugs have limited ability to damage the joints on their own, there use should be restricted to very mild, seronegative and non-erosive cases of rheumatoid arthritis. These are also sometimes used in combination with methotrexate and sulfasalazine to treat the signs and symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis directly or indirectly increases the risk of certain cancers like:
The best vitamin for rheumatoid arthritis patients is Vitamin D. For people with rheumatoid arthritis, vitamin D is extremely beneficial because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system. Vitamin D also proves helpful against inflammation and helps in healing it. If a person doesn’t get enough Vitamin D, then the bones can become soft and brittle. Hence, patients who have rheumatoid arthritis should keep getting a regular check of Vitamin D.
To increase Vitamin D levels, it is recommended to spend 10-15 minutes in sunlight. UV rays from the sun help produce your own Vitamin D. On the other hand, too much UV rays can cause skin cancer so overexposure must be avoided. Vitamin D can be taken from the diet by eating fish, such as salmon and mackerel. Also, Vitamin D supplements can be used to replace the lack of the vitamin in the body.
Foods that should be avoided by those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are:
Here are the natural remedies that work best for managing rheumatoid arthritis: