Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune chronic disorder that affects the joints causing persistent inflammation. Autoimmune diseases are the ones that are caused when the body’s tissues are attacked by the body’s own immune system.
Since, Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused when the body’s immune system attacks the joints and other organs, it is associated with inflammation and last for many years, though one may not experience symptoms for long periods. It is a typical progressive illness.
The symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis can be traced to stiffness of the joints, joint pains, inflammation around affected joints, swelling, and appearance of small bumps around the joints called the nodules. The early symptoms may as well include fatigue, morning stiffness, muscle pains, weakness and loss of appetite. Deformities in hands or feet, limited range of motion, skin redness or inflammation and low grade fever, among others are the signs that may show up as the disease progresses.
Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment is usually comprised of a comprehensive program of medications, physical therapy, and regular exercise designed to control inflammation and slow or stop its progression. Surgery cannot be ruled out in case the joint damage needs to be corrected. Generally, three types of treatments as follows are prescribed to patients, based on the degree of RA:
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescription is advised by the doctors to reduce pain and inflammation. However, this prescription does not slow the progression of RA.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) help slow or stop progression of RA. This prescription, however, weakens the immune system, thus increasing chances of infection.
Biologics the genetically developed proteins are designed to inhibit specific components of the immune system that play a pivotal role in inflammation, a key component in rheumatoid arthritis, and hence is the most effective treatment for RA.
A diet that is rich in minerals and vitamins, with the right fat can accentuate the muscle movements and proper functioning of the joints, thus reducing the symptoms of RA.The inclusion or exclusion of certain foods may also help in alleviating the inflammation and the joint pains. Foods rich in iron, zinc, copper, selenium and manganese promote joint health. Animal fat should not be consumed.
Though Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease; a suitable medication, accompanied with the right diet, and a never-say-die attitude, can surely be fought with.