RA

 

 

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of 100 autoimmune diseases.
  • Primarily affects the joints.
  • Can occur at any age, but
  • A progressive disease for about 80% of those affected.
  • Early and aggressive treatment is critical to a good outcome.
  • Auto immune diseases: the body’s immune system sees particular, normal body cells as intruders;  attacks these cells creating inflammation, swelling and eventually damage. Multiple sclerosis, type one diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosis and Graves disease are a few of the autoimmune disorders. In each case a particular body part is affected. In type one diabetes the pancreas is destroyed. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered systemic as it can affect different organs as well as the joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects the joints. Onset may vary with each individual. Small joints of the hands and the feet are usually affected first. A hallmark is that joint involvement becomes bilateral, both hands, both feet, both wrists, etc. Joints may swell. They can become extremely painful,  have a burning feeling. They might feel warm. Low grade temperature of 99-100 degrees is common. Fatigue and extreme fatigue are frequently present.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can start at any age. It usually often begins in middle age and increases with frequency in older people. Older teenagers and young adults may also be diagnosed. Children and young teenagers may be diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is progressive 80% of the time. That means that it cannot be cured and will get worse over time. It is considered a chronic disease. Medications that may have worked, stop working. Medicines will need to be changed. Joints become damaged. Surgery may be necessary. Tendons become involved. Feet may develop neuropathy. Lungs may be involved.
  • Early and aggressive treatment is important to containing the effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Joint damage occurs within the first two years of diagnosis. Drugs are available that will ease the symptoms. Drugs are available that will slow the progression of the disease. The initial goal is to contain the progression.  Most respected medical organizations also support the use of complimentary treatment( meditation, yoga, massage, tai chi concurrently with medical treatment.
  • Once the shock of this serious diagnosis wears off and the RA is brought under some control with the magic of medication, many RA patients begin to see the need to participate in their medical plan of action. The first is to gather information about what it is that has turned their life upside down. Connect to a list of reputable sites.

 

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: RA cheat sheet | marysarthritis

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