Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disease, that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, regular flares and remissions of the symptoms eventually causing permanent joint destruction and deformity.
Causes Behind Rheumatoid Arthritis
Abnormal response of the immune system due to a change in hormones, infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. In certain cases, it could be related to obesity, can be triggered by stressful events like physical or emotional trauma and even environmental factors could play a part.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually include joint pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness for more than six weeks or longer. If you feel stiffness for 30 minutes or longer, pain in one than one joint like writs, fingers etc and joints in both sides of the body, see a doctor immediately.
Your doctors will do an evaluation of your medical history, physical examination, run few blood test, imaging test, ultrasound and check for inflammation and antibodies before diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.
Doctors decide treatment options depending on the severity of the problem. It can range from administering non-steroidal drugs, corticosteroid medications and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
When To Go For Surgery?
Joint fusion, joint replacement and physiotherapy are recommended in the advanced stages of rheumatoid arthritis.
Tips To Deal With RA
These are the important tips to be followed in case you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. It is imperative to understand the reasons behind pain, don’t sit in on position for too long, walk and stretch every half an hour, cold and hot compresses may ease the pain. If you are working long hours in an office take breaks between a long stretch of work.
Diet Tips For People With RA
Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are strongly recommended a few changes in their diet. Reduce the amount of salt in your food, cut back on sugars. Alcohol is a proven trigger, so avoid it completely. Do not take saturated fats, avoid foods in Omega-3 and carbohydrates.
Dr K Mukunth
MBBS, MS (ORTHO), FIA(GER), EXE.HIP.FEL(UK) is an orthopaedic surgeon with Kauvery Hospital, Chennai