Rheumatoid Arthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment in Dallas, Plano & Texas; is a progressive chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints. Apart from affecting the joints, it can also affect or damage a variety of body systems, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, skin, and eyes.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack its own body tissues. It affects the lining of the joints, leading to a painful inflammation that could eventually lead to bone erosion and deformity of the joint.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may vary from mild to severe. Symptoms may also come and go.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Tender, warm, and swollen joints
- Joint stiffness, especially joints in the fingers and feet
- Joint damage that occurs at either side of the body
- Loss of appetite
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The main cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a result of the immune system attacking the synovium (the lining of membranes that surround the joints).
The attack results in inflammation that thickens the synovium. This eventually leads to the destruction of the cartilage and bone around the joint.
Over time, the tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together begin to weaken and stretch. The joint gradually loses its alignment and shape.
Risk factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Certain factors may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. These factors include:
Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men.
While rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, it mostly begins in middle age.
Individuals with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of the disease.
People that smoke are at higher risk of the disease.
Exposures to certain substances such as asbestos or silica may increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
People who are overweight or obese are at risk of developing the disease.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Though there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is aimed to improve and manage your condition.
Treatment options include:
Lifestyle and home remedies
Lifestyle and home remedies can help improve your condition.
Lifestyle and home remedies include-
Regular gentle exercises can help strengthen your bones and muscles around your joints. Flexibility exercise can help increase the range of motion in your joints and also increase your mobility. Consult with your doctor to recommend a physical therapist that will help you with the most effective exercises.
Apply heat or cold
Applying heat can help ease your pain and relax tense, painful muscles. Applying ice packs can help reduce inflammation and pain.
Reduce your stress and take some time off to have a good rest. Getting enough sleep will help reduce fatigue, inflammation and pain.
Using certain assistive devices such as splints and braces can help hold your joints in a resting position. Using canes and crutches can help you maintain mobility.
The types of medications prescribed by your doctor depend on the severity of your symptoms.
Over-the-counter Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Taking OTC NSAIDs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone help to reduce inflammation and pain, and slow down joint damage.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
DMARDs such as methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide, and sulfasalazine help to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. These medications also protect the joints and other tissues from permanent damage.
These drugs are also known as biologic response modifiers. Biologic agents can target parts of the immune system that triggers inflammation. They provide targeted response to the parts of the immune system that triggers inflammation. Examples are abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, baricitinib, certolizumab, and etanercept.
If other conservative treatments fail to slow joint damage or improve your condition, your doctor may consider surgery to repair damaged joints. Surgery may help improve function and restore your ability to use your joint.
Surgeries for rheumatoid arthritis include:
This is surgery to remove the synovium (inflamed lining of the joint).
Tendon repair surgery is required to repair loose or ruptured tendon around the joint.
Joint fusion surgery may be required to stabilize or realign a joint.
Total joint replacement – Total joint replacement surgery involves the removal of the damaged parts of the joint. Prosthesis made of metal and plastic are then inserted to replace the damaged parts.
What is the main cause of rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. The main cause of rheumatoid arthritis is the immune system attacking the synovium (the lining of membranes that surround the joints).
What are the 4 stages of rheumatoid arthritis?
The 4 stages of rheumatoid arthritis include:
Stage 1: Early Rheumatoid Arthritis
Stage 1 is the early stage of rheumatoid arthritis. In this stage, the patient may not have many symptoms except for some stiffness in the small joints such as fingers and toes. This stiffness is usually experienced in the early hours of the morning and gets better with movements. Some patients may experience joint pain without inflammation while some other patients experience tissue inflammation. There is no severe damage to the bones. Symptoms may come and go, and it can be challenging for doctors to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis in the very early stage.
Stage 2: Moderate stage of rheumatoid arthritis
Stage 2 is the moderate stage of rheumatoid arthritis. In this stage, the synovium is inflamed and it causes damage to the joint cartilage. Patients may experience pain and loss of mobility due to cartilage damage. Antibodies start to develop and inflammation starts to get worse. Antibodies may start to affect other organs such as the lungs, eyes, skin, blood vessels, kidney, heart, and so on. Rheumatoid nodules (lumps on the elbows) may start to develop.
Stage 3: More severe stage of rheumatoid arthritis
At stage 3, the extent of damage has extended to the bones. The cartilage is severely damaged and the cushion between bones is no longer effective. The bones start to rub against each other, causing more pain and inflammation. The joints and bones start to bend, erode, and deform. The damaged joints can press on nearby nerves and cause nerve pain. Some individuals may experience muscle weakness and increased mobility issues.
Stage 4: End-stage of Rheumatoid arthritis
This is the most severe stage of rheumatoid arthritis. At this stage, the joints no longer work. Most people experience severe pain, inflammation, stiffness and mobility loss. The bones may fuse together and the joints totally ineffective. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis do not get to this stage in their lifetime.
Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Cured?
No. Rheumatoid arthritis can’t be cured. It is a progressive disease. Treatment is aimed at slowing down or halting the progression of the disease. Treatment also controls symptoms of joint pain and stiffness to increase mobility.
How serious is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disease that can get very worse if not treated on time. It is a progressive disease that can cause severe damage to the bones and joints, leading to loss of mobility. It is an autoimmune disease that can cause the immune system to attack the body tissues and organs, leading to serious complications in the organs.
What foods are bad for rheumatoid arthritis?
Foods bad for rheumatoid arthritis include fried foods and foods with omega-6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates and sugar, dairy foods and products, grilled, boiled, or fried meats, preservatives and flavorings, aspartame, gluten, monosodium glutamate, alcohol, and salt.
What are the 5 worst foods to eat if you have arthritis?
The 5 worst foods are:
- Red meat (grilled, boiled, or fried)
- Fried foods
- Sugar, including preservatives and flavorings
- Foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids
- High-fat dairy foods and products
What is the life expectancy of a person with rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis can reduce a person’s life expectancy by as much as 10 to 15 years. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis can live with the disease beyond the age of 80 or even 90 years.
What’s the best painkiller for rheumatoid arthritis?
The best painkillers for rheumatoid arthritis are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren)
- Etodolac (Lodine)
- Indomethacin (Indocin)
- Meloxicam (Mobic)
What happens when RA attacks the lungs?
When rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lungs, it can cause scarring within the lungs leading to shortness of breath, chronic dry cough, fatigue, weakness and loss of appetite.
Are eggs bad for arthritis?
The yolks in eggs contain arachidonic acid. This acid triggers inflammation in the body. Eating eggs regularly can lead to increased inflammation and joint pain. Also, eggs contain saturated fat which can induce joint pain.
Is coffee good for arthritis?
Study shows that people who drink coffee regularly are at increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. However, coffee has some antioxidant properties with some concentration of anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Coffee attacks harmful free radicals in the body and also provides a protective shield against gout. It is best to drink coffee in moderation if you have arthritis.
Is banana good for arthritis?
Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium which help to increase bone density. Magnesium may help alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
What drinks are good for arthritis?
Drinks that are good for arthritis include:
- Tea (Green, black, or white)
- Red wine
- Fresh juices that contain vitamin C such as orange, pineapple, mango, carrot, etc.
How can I naturally lubricate my joints?
You can naturally lubricate your joints by:
- Drinking lots of water each day
- Eating foods high in healthy fats such as salmon, trout, mackerel, avocados, olive oil, almonds, and walnuts
Are Nuts bad for arthritis?
Nuts are great sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risks of heart disease. Nuts can be of great benefit to people with arthritis.
How Rheumatoid arthritis affects the heart?
Inflammatory substances called cytokines increase joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation causes the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. This buildup of plagues in the blood vessels narrows or blocks the blood vessels. The reduction or block of flow of blood to and from the heart can lead to heart attack and stroke.
How can rheumatoid arthritis be prevented?
There is no known way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis but you can reduce your risk of developing the disease. You can do this by avoiding smoking, losing weight if you’re overweight or obese; avoid exposure to certain substances including asbestos and silica. Also, go for regular medical checkups.
Does hot weather affect rheumatoid arthritis?
The joints contain sensory nerves that respond to the changing weather. Increased temperature can alter the level of fluid that fills the joints. This can result in inflammation and pain.