What is Rheumatoid Arthritis and how can it be managed
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects roughly 1% of the British population, is the most common inflammatory arthritis, and can theoretically be developed at any age.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?Rheumatoid Arthritis is a long-term
condition that causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Typically found in the hands, feet, and wrists, RA is also known as an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells that line your joints, causing pain. ‘Normal’ joints are designed to allow the bones to move in certain directions. But with RA, the inflammation caused is unnecessary and the capsule that’s found around the synovium remains stretched. As it can’t hold the joint properly, it instead becomes unstable and moves into unnatural positions. For sufferers, this is a persistent and very annoying condition.
Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are many risk factors associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This involves age, sex, genetics or inherited traits, smoking, history of live births, early life exposures, and obesity. For example, there has been documented evidence showing that RA can run in families. Inheriting the condition is rare, but there have still been exceptions which say otherwise. People who smoke may increase the risk of RA, and it can even worsen the condition. Limiting these causes can help boost your chances of staying fit and healthy. However, some are not so lucky as evidenced by these risk factors.
Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
For most people, common symptoms may include:
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite
- Joint stiffness (worse in the mornings or after inactivity)
Around 40% of people may also experience signs and symptoms involving the following:
- Nerve tissue
- Bone marrow
- Blood vessels
- Salivary glands
It’s hard to tell what symptoms you may experience yourself. However, the best way to deal with them is to book an appointment to see the doctor if they are becoming more persistent. RA is a condition that affects the joints, so be aware if yours are painful.
Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis aim to reduce joint inflammation, relieve pain, prevent, or slow down joint damage, and allow you to move freely. It can be medicine, lifestyle changes, supportive treatments, and surgery. Doctors attempt to provide early, aggressive treatment to reduce all the inflammation, provide remission to reduce symptoms, or gain more control to keep inflammation low. Medicines you may be prescribed are painkillers, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), or steroids, which all help reduce pain. The end goal, however, is to stop the pain altogether. But this is easier said than done when it comes to RA.
How To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis
The best way to manage your Rheumatoid Arthritis is to take your pain medication regularly, use a warm compress to loosen up those stiff joints from locking up, or simply relax more. Although you may want to move and get around, it may be best to give yourself more time.
But what if you forget to take your RA meds? Is there a way to get reminders to take them?
Manage Your Meds With YOURmeds Switch!
We make it easy to support your loved ones with their medications. The YOURmeds Switch will help them remember when to take the right medications at the right time – and let you know if there are any problems.