Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Relatively Manageable. Here’s How

  • Home
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Relatively Manageable. Here’s How
Shape Image One
Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Relatively Manageable. Here’s How

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease. It primarily affects the joints but can also involve other body systems. In this disease, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues, particularly the synovium. It is the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. This chronic inflammation can lead to joint damage, pain, swelling, and a variety of other symptoms.

Though cumbersome, it is relatively manageable especially when detected early. Your doctor can prescribe various medications and overall lifestyle change to avoid the condition from worsening. But, before we get to the possible treatments, it is best to know some warning signs to watch out for. Read on to see what these are. 

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Autoimmune Response: As earlier mentioned, Rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by an autoimmune response where the immune system targets the synovium. Unfortunately, this triggers an inflammatory reaction within the joints. 

Symmetrical Joint Involvement: Rheumatoid Arthritis typically affects joints on both sides of the body simultaneously. For example, if the right wrist is affected, the left wrist is likely to be affected as well. 

Joint Inflammation: Inflammation within the affected joints is tell-tale characteristic of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This inflammation can lead to pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the joints. 

Morning Stiffness: People with this condition often experience morning stiffness that lasts for more than an hour. This can also occur after periods of inactivity throughout the day.

Progressive Joint Damage: Over time, the chronic inflammation can lead to joint damage and deformities. This is most observable in the wrists, fingers, knees, and toes. 

Systemic Effects: Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect more than just the joints. It can also involve other body systems and organs. This unfortunately leads to symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, fever, and weight loss. 

Fluctuating Symptoms: It is important to note that symptoms can vary in intensity and may go through periods of remission. Some instances it can disappear and flare up making it fairly unpredictable. 

Extra-articular Manifestations: In some cases, this condition leads to complications outside of the joints, affecting organs like the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. 

Possible treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis 

To further understand what Rheumatoid Arthritis is, just imagine your body’s immune system as an overprotective security guard. Instead of protecting you, it starts attacking your own joints, causing pain, swelling, and damage. This is what happens when you have this condition. 

So, how do we manage it? 

Medications: Doctors often give you special medicines that help calm down your overactive immune system. These medicines come in different forms:

  • Pills you swallow
  • Injections or shots
  • Sometimes, strong pills like steroids can quickly ease the pain and swelling when things get really bad.

Physical Therapy and Exercise: Think of this like exercise for your joints. Physical therapists teach you special movements and exercises to keep your joints flexible and strong. 

Taking it Easy: Rest is important. When your joints are acting up, it’s like a signal from your body to take it easy. It’s perfectly okay to slow down and rest. 

Heat and Cold: Imagine using a warm blanket or an ice pack on a sore joint. These can help reduce pain and swelling. 

Eating Well: A balanced diet is good for your overall health. Some people find that eating certain foods, like fruits and vegetables, can help them feel better. 

Regular Doctor Checkups: Just like routine car maintenance, you need to see your doctor regularly. They are able to assess if you are coping well with their prescription or if they need to change it for another more effective treatment. 

Surgery (Sometimes): If your joints are really damaged and painful, the doctor might suggest for you to undergo therapy. This is for the purpose of repairing or replacing them in some cases. Think of it like fixing a part in your car that’s worn out. 

In conclusion 

In conclusion, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and potential joint damage. While there is no cure for this condition, there are effective treatments available to manage the condition and improve your general quality of life.