What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term autoimmune disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect more than just your joints. The body experiences inflammation, pain, and swelling around the joints, as well as other parts of the body. Generally, it affects the hand and feet areas, but it can happen in any joint of the body. Usually, it targets the same joints on both sides. However, in some people, rheumatoid arthritis can damage other parts of the body like skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
The patient experiences the pain especially upon getting up in the morning or after sitting down for a while. Some patients even experience fatigue. The research revealed that up to 1% of the world’s population is affected by RA. The number of patients suffering due to RA is estimated to be 1.3 million.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is a systemic disease that affects the whole body. It occurs when the immune system starts attacking synovium (the lining of the membranes that surround your joints). This results in inflammation which thickens the synovium which can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis. In the case of RA, the lining of your joints is affected which causes painful swelling. Eventually, this results in bone erosion and joint deformity.
Rheumatoid arthritis develops in people due to the malfunctioning of the immune system. There are multiple reasons that lead to this malfunctioning. One of them could be genetic factors that make it more likely to develop this disease. The other theory is that certain bacteria or a virus causes RA. In this condition, the body’s immune system attacks the synovium part (the smooth lining of the joint). This triggers pain and inflammation. If left untreated the synovium thickens and destroys the cartilage ( the cushion at the end of the bones).
Higher risk of developing Rheumatoid arthritis:
- The people who are more prone to develop RA disease are as follows:
- People aged 60 years or above
- Never delivered a baby
- Passive smoking
When to consult a doctor?
It’s important to consult a doctor at the initial stage. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to slow the progression of the disease. The doctor will examine the clinical signs of inflammation to assess the severity of the condition. RA is a painful and chronic condition that makes it difficult for the person to perform daily tasks. Anyone who experiences the symptoms of RA should see a doctor immediately to reduce the risk of long term problems.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis may include:
- Stiffness, Swelling, and pain in joints
- Joint deformity
- Unsteadiness while walking
- Discomfort in performing daily activities
- Weight Loss
Usually, early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the smaller joints first, particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. But gradually, as the disease spreads, symptoms extend to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. In some cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.
About 40 percent of the people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don’t involve the joints. The symptoms can be severe, mild, or completely disappear. The RA symptoms tend to come and go depending on the severity of the problem.
Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Stem cell treatment has proven to be a successful option for Rheumatoid arthritis. It induces healing and regenerates healthy tissue by potentially repairing damaged tissues. These therapies help the body in the healing process by stimulating the immune system. The process works to regenerate the damaged tissue that the body wouldn’t regrow or repair on its own.