Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where people lose their movement, feel pain, and their joints deteriorate over time. It is one of the most common forms of arthritis. However, it mainly develops in women older than 40. Rheumatoid arthritis is especially common in adults with a long history of competitive sports or physical labor jobs.
Technically, Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, and the body attacks the tissue and the joints causing inflammation and pain. As the condition develops, it is not uncommon to see patients losing feeling and motion. This form of arthritis is not life-threatening but can hinder a person’s quality of life if they don’t manage the condition or receive treatment.
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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis
There is no one exact cause of Rheumatoid arthritis. The condition, however, has been linked to genetics. In other words, if an individual has a direct family member with this condition, they are at a higher risk of developing Rheumatoid arthritis. There is no gene that controls if someone will be born with Rheumatoid arthritis, though.
Sports players and laborers working manual labor jobs often harm their bodies while physically using their bodies. The prolonged use of their joints and added pressure in training can lead to Rheumatoid arthritis.
There is a huge risk for people with obesity. Any extra weight or pressure on a person’s legs and joints can aid in the development of Rheumatoid arthritis. Although this is true, not everyone who is obese will develop this condition. There are preventative measures that you can take to decrease your chances.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The symptoms for patients with Rheumatoid arthritis differ. Although each person suffers in various different ways, there are a few common symptoms that appear in almost all cases. However, during the first few stages of development, patients typically do not feel any symptoms.
It is almost unheard of to see an individual with the starting stages of Rheumatoid arthritis as the signs are invisible or non-existent. The pain does not start until the joints begin to deteriorate. The most common symptoms are:
- Stiffness in bones and joints
- Swelling in joints, especially wrist
- Weight loss
Rheumatoid Arthritis Complication
As the condition worsens, there is a large possibility that further complications can arise. If you do not get the proper treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis, you can lose feeling in your body and eventually mobility. Interestingly, some of the complications have nothing to do with arthritis or your body’s joints. The inflammation and autoimmune disease can cause mental health problems as well.
Without treatment, patients with Rheumatoid arthritis may develop:
- Nerve Damage
- Loss of Feeling
- Numbness in legs
Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis
The only way to diagnose Rheumatoid arthritis is to contact a doctor. Medical professionals will first begin examining their patients by checking them through a physical and asking relevant questions. Doctors need to know important information like family history, the start of the symptoms, and the severity of the symptoms. Without this information, your doctor cannot make a proper diagnosis.
After the questions and initial check-up, your doctor may ask for further testing if they suspect that you have a form of arthritis. X-rays and other scans like an MRI can show the doctor any damage, trauma, and deterioration of the joints. They show as dark lesions or spots on the scan and are interpreted by medical professionals.
If your doctor is still unsure, they can schedule an autoimmune test where they take a sample of your blood and look at your antibodies to see if your body is properly fighting off viruses. Typically, if your doctor is diagnosing you with this condition, you are in the later stages of Rheumatoid arthritis.
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Works
There are many ways to treat Rheumatoid arthritis, but it is essential to note that there is no cure for this condition. Since it is an autoimmune disease, the largest problem with this condition is that a patient’s body struggles to fight off any illnesses as the immune system is lowered.
To treat the condition, patients can take medications like conventional DMARDs prescribed by their doctor. This medication is typically a pill and works to slow down the rate of disease. While it cannot stop the development, it can significantly slow it down.
You can also treat the painful and uncomfortable symptoms associated with Rheumatoid arthritis. For the pain, there are over-the-counter pain relievers that you can use. If you experience any swelling or inflammation of your joints or bones, you can use cold compresses or ice packs. The cold relaxes your body and helps reduce inflammation.
Managing with Supplements
Thankfully, there are also ways to manage the condition! While you cannot cure it for good, you can strengthen your body by taking supplements to boost your immune system. Always talk to your doctor, however, before taking a new supplement or vitamin. Some experts believe that these supplements are very safe, though.
There are two supplements that you can take to boost your immune system; they include Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Probiotics. Fatty Acids found in fish oils are filled with fat, protein, and nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties. The greatest thing about probiotics is that it introduces healthy flora and bacteria to aid your gut in digesting food.
Since the gut health system is also part of your body’s immune system, they both need to be strong and ready to fight off diseases. Over time, you may see yourself with more energy and a slower rate of deterioration in your joints and bones.
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Overall, Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that typically develops in older adults past 40 years old. These older adults with Rheumatoid arthritis developed the condition because of unknown reasons. However, while there is still research being done, some experts believe that Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by genetics.
Thankfully, Rheumatoid arthritis is not a terminal condition. You can still live a long, healthy, and happy life with Rheumatoid arthritis. While this is the case, you do need to make some changes to your lifestyle and treatments to stay healthy and in top shape.
- Is Rheumatoid Arthritis hereditary? No, RA is not hereditary, however, your genetics could play a role in whether you get RA or not.
- When Does RA start? RA will start showing severe symptoms between the ages of 30-50, depending on the severity of your arthritis.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!