What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The immune system in your body fights against diseases and abnormal cells, but autoimmune disorders such as Tampa rheumatoid arthritis can cause your body’s defense system to attack your joints. The disease attacks the joints in your knees, wrists, and hands and affects joints in other parts of your body. Rheumatoid arthritis causes painful swelling in the joints’ cartilage and can lead to joint deformity over time. The pain caused by this condition can affect multiple aspects of your daily life, including school, leisure, and social activities. Below is more you need to learn about rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

They include:

  • Pain in different joints
  •  Joint stiffness
  • Swollen and tender joints
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Sometimes the symptoms can worsen (flare-up) or improve (remission).

At the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms such as tenderness and swelling usually affect small joints in your body. These include the joints in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. As the disease progresses, these symptoms spread to other joints, including those in your wrists, knees, elbows, and ankles. Some patients may have problems in different body parts other than the joints that include:

  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Nerves
  • Skin
  • Salivary glands

 What causes rheumatoid arthritis?

It is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s defense system attacks healthy tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis causes a painful swelling in your joints’ cartilage and may cause other problems with your nerves, heart, lungs, and eyes. The exact cause of this disease is yet to be established, but the following factors make you more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis.

Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis

Age: Although the disease can begin at any age, the likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis increases as you get older. Its onset is highest in individuals in their sixties.

Inherited traits (genes): Individuals born with human leucocyte antigen have higher risks of getting rheumatoid arthritis. The risk increases when such people are obese or exposed to environmental factors such as smoking.

Sex: In women, cases of reported rheumatoid arthritis are two to three times higher than in men.

Smoking: Your risk of getting RA is higher if you smoke, and smoking also worsens the existing problem.

Obesity: Obese individuals are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than people with a healthy body mass index. Losing extra pounds can help lower your risk of this autoimmune disorder.

What is the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis can be managed using medications such as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug. When you begin treatment early, these drugs can help with symptoms remission. The following are other medications that your doctor may recommend depending on the severity of your disease symptoms.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: These drugs can help reduce inflammation, including aspirin and ibuprofen. You need to use them for a short period as overuse may result in stomach ulcers.

Steroid: These include drugs such as prednisone which slow joint damage and reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids are associated with side effects such as bone thinning and weight gain and should also be used for a short period.

Without treatment, rheumatoid arthritis can affect your productivity and overall quality of life. If you have rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as swelling and tenderness in joints, reserve a session today with your doctor at Jeffrey Miller, MD.