Rheumatoid arthritis is primarily a joints disease, which is chronic in nature. It can also pose to be a systematic disease that affects the organs of the body internally and can potentially lead to disability. Infections, wounds and foreign bodies attack the immune system in this disease, and cause inflammation in the joint lining tissue. This inflammation causes pain, stiffness, loss of functioning ability and swelling in the joints. If this inflammation is not treated in time, it can spread to other parts of the body and organs such as the liver, lungs, kidneys and even the heart.
Furthermore, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, that is, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues that it is otherwise programmed to protect. Moreover, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the smaller joints, such as those limited to the hands, the wrist, the ankles, feet or elbows. However, the disease tends to be unpredictable and can affect any other joint as well, causing much discomfort, pain and potentially disability as well.
The fundamental underlying rheumatoid arthritis causes are not known. It is however deemed to be an autoimmune disease, and there are many factors that play a role in the role abnormal activity of the immunity system that leads to the said disease. The possible factors may include being attacked by a virus or a bacteria, genetics or maybe hormones. Environmental factors which could potentially cause the disease include smoking, exposure to silica or gum diseases.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can vary depending on the state of the disease. When inflammation in the joints is present, the disease is in its active state. When the inflammation subsides, the disease enters a state where it is inactive or in remission. The disease may go in a state of remission either because of treatment or spontaneously. When the disease returns and inflammation spurs up again, the symptoms emerge again and the disease relapses. This state is called ‘flare’.
The basic rheumatoid symptoms include the following:
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment has been a topic of much research and concern in the field of science. There is no established rheumatoid arthritis treatment so far but the primary goal of most treatments is to reduce joint inflammation, relieve pain as much as possible, prevent joint deformity and disability and maximize joint function.
However, rheumatoid arthritis treatment is at its optimal point when it includes medications, joint therapy and strengthening exercises, and educating the patient and the family about the disease. There are two kinds of drugs used for rheumatoid arthritis treatment. These include ‘fist-line drugs’ and ‘second-line drugs’. First-line drugs are used to reduce inflammation and pain such as aspirin, whereas second-line drugs are used to promote the onset of disease inactivation or remission and prevent joint destruction and disability.