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What Really Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Dr. Kamal Bachani 88% (205 ratings)
International Arthroscopy , Shoulder Surgery Fellowship, M Ch. Ortho, Fellowship in Joint Replacement, Fellowship Tr.Sports surgery/arthroscopy, Fellowship in Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (FOR), MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, New Delhi  •  27 years experience
What Really Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Causes and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which is characterized by the inflammation of the joint lining and gives rise to pain, stiffness, warmth and redness in the joints. The inflammation occurs in the tissue that normally produces lubricating fluids for the joint. This condition is progressive in nature, and can cause the destruction of joints, leading to functional and locomotive disability.

Though rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can last for years, patients may not experience any symptoms for a long time. In some cases, the disease may affect other parts of the body like the eyes, lungs, and the heart.

The severity and duration of the symptoms are unpredictable, and the symptoms experienced are:

- At times, people experience increased disease conditions called flare-ups.
- They may also experience alternating periods when the symptoms fade or diminish, which is referred to as remission.
- Some of the common symptoms of the disease include lasting pain and stiffness for more than an hour in the morning, inflammation, fatigue, fever, and a general sense of discomfort.
- Inflammation in the joints close to the hands like wrists and fingers and other parts like neck, shoulders, elbows, knees and hips can also be affected.
- In some cases, both sides of the body are affected at the same time, which is known as inflammation in a symmetric pattern.

Rheumatoid arthritis is usually caused by the body's weakened immune system, which produces antigens to attack itself. The trigger to this reaction is not yet clearly deciphered.

It is diagnosed by clinical examination (American association of Rheumatology criterion) supported by relevant Investigations.

Management

Management for Arthritis includes the following aspects:

1) To control disease activity and control of symptoms of pain, stiffness.
2) Medical treatment to prevent system effects of the disease.
3) Nonmedical treatments comprise of dietary therapy, physiotherapy, immunomodulation therapy.
4) Minimal surgical therapy like arthroscopic synovectomy to confirm the diagnosis as well as reduce disease activity. At times, with the advanced decline of joints, a major surgery like replacement therapy may be required for specific cases.

What's more important is to know that at any stage of the disease patient can adopt and live an active life with appropriate treatment.

'Consult'.

Related Tip: 3 Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis to Watch Out for

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