Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can be a crippling disease. It can affect people of all ages. While it can usually be controlled with treatments and therapy, it can cause great pain and difficulty while performing tasks as simple as opening a door.
Q: What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease in which the body’s immune system begins attacking healthy tissue in the body. Inflammation in the joints causes them to become less mobile. If the condition is not properly treated, permanent joint destruction can occur.
Q: What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are stiffness, pain, swelling, and loss of function in the joints. Fatigue, loss of appetite, and fever may also occur. For some, these symptoms happen over time while for others they happen suddenly, without warning. Sometimes the heart and lungs can be affected by RA as well.
Q: Is there a rheumatiod arthritis treatment?
Medications are available for treating RA. Some treatment medications are used for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief while others are used for the reduction of joint inflammation. Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are used to stop the underlying immune process and prevent any long-term damage by RA. DMARDs also help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. There are also additional options available to lessen the pain caused by RA. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and exercise are other ways to help.
Q: What are the types of rheumatoid arthritis?
- Juvenile RA happens in children under the age of sixteen. It causes inflammation and stiffness in joints.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica affects tendons, ligaments, muscles, and tissues around the joints.
- Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation of the spine and bigger joints in the body such as the knees and elbows. It causes severe back pain.
- Hip and knee RA usually affects the smaller tendons and joints in the body. It often affects a much older age group. In hip and knee RA, the joints
surrounding the knee become stiff and swollen causing difficulty walking.
In some cases of severe RA, lupus can become a problem as well. Lupus is a collagen vascular disorder. The symptoms can include skin rashes, extreme photosensitivity, kidney problems, hair loss, lung fibrosis, and joint pain.
People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or lupus have many obstacles to overcome. Whether in the beginning stages or dealing with acute rheumatoid arthritis, there is still hope in overcoming these hardships. With treatment, patients can live an easier life.