Rheumatoid Arthritis is a dreaded disease, but not a fatal one. Sounds contradictory? Not really.People suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis can experience severe pain and deformity. However, it is not likely to cause death.
It is a progressive disease that starts with pain and may end up deforming the affected joints. One may have to put up with pain and deformity for the rest of life. If not treated, the disease can also spread to other organs such as eyes, skin, lungs, kidneys, heart etc.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
A unique aspect of Rheumatoid Arthritis is that it is not precipitated by the wear and tear of joints, like Osteoarthritis. It is an autoimmune disorder that is precipitated when the immune system of the body attacks the joints and stokes inflammation in the joint linings. The lining thickens due to inflammation and destroys the cartilage and the bones in the underlying joint. As the health of the cartilages and bones deteriorate, the tendons connecting the bones to the muscles become weak. This makes the joint lose its shape and alignment and thereby precipitates deformity in the joints.
However, doctors are not yet sure of the reasons for the autoimmune disorder.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
If someone is suffering from this disease, then he / she might experience the following in the affected joints:
● Swollen, tender and warm
● Stiff and painful. The stiffness and pain may become worse in the morning.
Although the causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis are unknown, there are certain risk factors.
More women suffer from this disease than men.
It can occur at any age, but it is more common among adults between the ages of 40 and 60 years.
If one or more members in the family has or had suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis, he/she is at an increased risk.
Smoking not only increases the susceptibility to Rheumatoid Arthritis, but also the severity of the disease. Over and above, if a person is genetically predisposed to this disease, smoking multiplies the risk.
● Certain Exposure
Exposure to certain stuff like silica, asbestos etc increases the risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It has been observed that people who are obese are more likely to suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Doctor can treat the condition only after he has diagnosed the condition. People suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis rarely show any distinctive symptoms, at least in the early stages. Many of the symptoms mimic symptoms of other diseases. There is no confirmatory blood or any other test. The doctor has to depend on physical examination and some concomitant tests to confirm the diagnosis. This is why the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. However, as soon as the disease is diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe strong anti-rheumatic drugs. This can bring down the symptoms and pain to some extent.