Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

A chronic inflammatory disorder that affect the small joints in the feet and hands are called rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike the other types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints that cause pain and swelling. It may result in joint deformity and bone erosion. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered as an autoimmune disorder that develops due to an immune system attack on the body tissues. Apart from joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis condition may cause problems to the eyes, skin, blood vessels and lungs of the patient. Though, there is no age specification for rheumatoid arthritis, it is commonly seen among people after the age of 40. The condition mostly affects women.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Some of the common signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Swelling in the joints

  • Tenderness in the joints

  • Warmth in the joints

  • Rheumatoid nodules or firm tissue bumps under the skin of arms

  • Morning stiffness of the joints

  • Fever, fatigue and weight loss

The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may vary according to the severity of the disease.

What are the causes of rheumatoid arthritis?

The membrane that surrounds the joints has lining called ‘synovium’. When the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, rheumatoid arthritis develops. Attack to the synovium causes inflammation and thickness and finally results in destruction of the bone and cartilage within the joint.

How is rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?

The disease is difficult to diagnose during the early stages. When symptoms occur, the doctor may suggest blood tests and X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.

How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. Various medications and therapies are suggested to relieve the symptoms. If this primary mode of treatments fails to prevent joint dmage, the doctor may suggest surgeries to restore the normal functioning of the joint:

  • Total joint replacement

  • Tendon repair

  • Joint fusion