Rheumatoid Arthritis (commonly known as RA) is an autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints. Many people with RA have an antibody known as “rheumatoid factor in their blood. Antibodies are produced by your immune system to fight “foreigners” in the body, but the body can also form antibodies (like rheumatoid factor) against itself. RA is an inflammatory condition that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints.
Possible risk factors for developing rheumatoid arthritis include genetic background, smoking, silica inhalation, periodontal disease, and microbes in the bowels.
RA can affect any joint, but the small joints in the hands and feet are most often affected. If generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern, meaning if one hand is involved the other one is too. Less often, inflammation can affect organs, such as the eyes, blood vessels, or lungs.
The exact cause is unknown; however, it commonly begins between the ages of 30 – 60 and occurs more often in women. There is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, but effective medications are available to treat it and help prevent deformed joints.
- joint redness
- joint pain in the feet, hands, and knees
- swollen joints
- tender joints
- loss of joint function
- stiff joints
- rheumatoid nodules
- joint warmth
- joint deformity
- Physical examination and prior medical history
- Blood tests for inflammatory markers including rheumatoid factor
While there is no cure for RA, the condition can be managed. Treatment may involve combination of rest, exercise, joint protection, medications, and occasionally surgery.
- A nutrient dense diet fuels your body for optimum health, and there is research to show that certain foods can exacerbate inflammatory diseases while others help your body calm the inflammation.
- Medications used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis include anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen or naproxen, DMARDs (anti-rheumatic drugs), immune modulators and immunosuppressants, and steroids.
Some of these medications require intense management and can be very expensive. Be sure to have doctor supervision to seek appropriate treatment.
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- 01 Apr 2016
- FOSRX/FAST Services