Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints. It can progress to other organs in the body and can be quite debilitating. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the synovial membranes that surround the joints and seeks to destroy them. The synovial membrane wraps around the joint , and when it is destroyed, the bones are left exposed. The bones rub together, causing the joints to become inflamed,tender and swollen. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be very painful and debilitating , and can lead to deformity of the joints. It also has the ability to greatly diminish a person’s quality of life.
The exact cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is unknown. It can occur at any age and it tends to affect more women than men. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be characterized as mild, moderate or even severe. Rheumatoid Arthritis can have a tremendous effect on a person’s ability to work and even in accomplishing even the simplest daily tasks. The disease gets progressively worse as a person ages, and the life span is diminished. In general, the younger a person is diagnosed, the quicker the symptoms progress.
The symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis can be vague at first and slow to develop. Along with the pain , swelling in the joints and a loss of mobility in the joints, a person may experience fatigue, loss of appetite, and body aches. Lesser symptoms include problems with the eyes,anemia, fever, deformed joints, and even swollen glands. Over time, a person with Rhematoid Arthritis may have problems with stomach ulcers, and can even develop problems with other organs. One development that may occur is rheumatoid vasculitis, which can lead to strokes, heart disease and other cardiac conditions.Nerve problems can develop , and that can result in numbness and tingling.
There is no cure for Rheumatoid arthritis, but there are many treatment options. Using a multi-treatment regimen lets the person manage their disease. Treatment regimens include anti-rheumatic drugs, NSAIDS, physical therapy,heat and cold therapy, braces and splints and electrical stimulation. Surgery may be an option for some people to alleviate symptoms. Joint replacements and synovectomies, which remove the joint lining, are the more common types of surgery for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
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