Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cause inflammation of the joint capsule because the body’s immune system targets healthy joint components.
In addition to the joints and the tissues around them, other organs such as the eyes, skin, and pleural lining can be affected by this chronic, long-term condition.
Flare-ups, during which the patient has severe symptoms, are alternated by remissions, during which the condition is under control.
Women are more likely to be impacted.
CAUSES: While rheumatoid arthritis has no established cause, several variables have been linked to an increased risk of developing the condition, such as smoking and obesity. It is possible for the body to mount an immune response against its own cells in response to external or genetic stimuli. A person’s ancestry: Genes that cause the illness can be passed down through the generations thanks to hereditary factors. Osteoarthritis can be brought on by an infection or hormonal changes.
SYMPTOMS: The illness begins slowly, with just one or two minor joints affected at a time. Symptoms might arise and then go away depending on the severity of the tissue inflammation. Because the illness is symmetrical, it affects both sides equally. The ailment is characterised by the following: Mild joint pain and stiffness, as well as weariness, are the first signs of a larger problem. An hour-long stiffness in the morning. Stiff, heated, and sore joints are common symptoms of rheumatological conditions. As the condition worsens, so do the joints’ ranges of motion, and eventually, the afflicted joints begin to distort. The joint ligaments, cartilage, and bone are all at risk because of the inflammation.
Additionally, general symptoms like exhaustion, apathy, and a low-grade temperature are common during the acute period. Pleurisy (chest discomfort), dry mouth, itchy and watery eyes, nodules under the skin, and burning and numbness of the hands and feet are some of the extra-articular symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Based on the patient’s clinical presentation of symptoms, tests and examination, the disease is identified as rheumatoid arthritis. Tests for the rheumatoid factor and citruline antibody as well as blood tests (ESR) and X-ray results are part of laboratory examinations. Diagnostic criteria include rheumatoid nodules and painful joints, as well as elevated C-reactive protein (CRP).
Cure: Rheumatoid arthritis has no known cure. The goal of therapy is to alleviate symptoms while also preventing additional joint involvement. A reduction in joint inflammation and discomfort is the primary goal of therapy. Other objectives include maximising joint function and preventing joint degeneration and deformity are secondary goals. Early medical intervention has been demonstrated to help manage the condition in studies. The treatment strategy is tailored to each patient’s specific symptoms.
The first-line of therapy is oral medicines. Both anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals and DMARDS (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis’ acute symptoms and decrease the disease’s development. Antimalarial drugs and corticosteroids are sometimes used to alleviate inflammation and discomfort. Deformed joints necessitate surgical correction.
Reducing the consumption of high-calorie processed foods and increasing the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as exercising and cutting back on alcohol, can slow the progression of illness.