Sunday, May 19, 2024

Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Whole Body

Whats The Age Of Onset For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Systemic Rheumatoid Arthritis Means Systemic Healing

RA usually starts to develop between the ages of 30 and 60. But anyone can develop rheumatoid arthritis. In children and young adults usually between the ages of 16 and 40 its called young-onset rheumatoid arthritis . In people who develop symptoms after they turn 60, its called later-onset rheumatoid arthritis .

Why Do Joints Make Popping And Cracking Noises

Joints can make different noises–some are serious and some are not.

Some people learn how to “pop their knuckles.” By pushing or pulling a joint in a certain way an air bubble can suddenly appear in the joint with a “pop.” Once the bubble is there the joint cannot be popped again until the air has been reabsorbed.

Some joints crack as the ligaments and tendons that pass over them slide past bumps on the bones. Individuals who “crack their neck” make noise in this way.

Other joints lock up intermittently–often with a loud pop–because something gets caught in between the joint surfaces. A torn cartilage in the knee or a loose piece of bone or cartilage in the joint can do this. Once a joint is stuck in this way, it may need to be wiggled around to unlock it. This may also cause a pop.

Finally joints that are arthritic may crack and grind. These noises usually occur each time the joint is moved. This noise is due to the roughness of the joint surface due to loss of the smooth cartilage.

Can I Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis

You cannot prevent rheumatoid arthritis because the cause of the disease is not known.

Quitting smoking, or never smoking, will reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. You are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis if someone in your close family has it, but unfortunately there is no way to reduce this risk.

People who have rheumatoid arthritis often experience flare ups, which are times when their joints are particularly sore. Learning what triggers your flare ups can help reduce or prevent them.

For some people, stress can trigger a flare up, so can being run down or pushing yourself beyond your limits. Having an infection, missing a dose of your medicine or changing your treatment plan can also cause a flare up.

Keeping a food and activity diary may help work out your personal triggers but keep in mind that sometimes flare ups happen without any obvious cause.

Read Also: Does Biofreeze Help With Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms Causes And Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that causes fatigue, pain, swelling and joint deformity. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis but a combination of treatments can help manage symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis after osteoarthritis. In New Zealand, rheumatoid arthritis affects 12% of the population. It is three times more common in women than men.

What Are The Different Types Of Arthritis

14 best images about Immune System on Pinterest

Arthritis is a broad term that describes more than 100 different joint conditions. The most common types of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis, or wear and tear arthritis, which develops when joint cartilage breaks down from repeated stress. Its the most common form of arthritis.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis, or arthritis of the spine .
  • Juvenile arthritis , a disorder where the immune system attacks the tissue around joints. JA typically affects children 16 or younger.
  • Gout, a disease that causes hard crystals of uric acid to form in your joints.
  • Psoriatic arthritis, joint inflammation that develops in people with psoriasis .
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that causes the immune system to attack synovial membranes in your joints.

Also Check: What Can You Do To Help Arthritis In Your Knees

How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect How People See Themselves

Rheumatoid arthritis is relatively common in young women. The limitations it can cause come right at a time when most of their peers are in good health, and that can be hard to deal with.

Some women worry that they can’t be a good mother or partner. Young women who have rheumatoid arthritis often wonder whether they should even have children. Having this disease doesn’t mean that getting pregnant isn’t an option. But it’s important to keep in mind that not all of the rheumatoid arthritis medication can be taken before and during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. You can talk to a rheumatologist or gynecologist about this early on. Men who are trying for a baby with their partner also need to stop taking certain rheumatoid arthritis medications for a while.

Some people are concerned about loss of status if they have to give up their job or take on a different position. The pain and loss of strength can also affect how you see yourself. It can be hard to show weakness or accept help, especially for men. Quite a few people even try ignoring the condition as much as possible because it doesn’t fit in with how they view themselves. They’d like to stay in control and continue living the life they’re used to as much as possible. This can be physically and emotionally draining, though. It can sometimes lead to depressive thoughts, frustration and aggression.

How Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Change Your Everyday Life

It’s common to have stiff and painful joints in the morning, making it difficult to get up and start the day. Everyday chores like cooking, laundry, cleaning, garden work and recreational activities can become a challenge as the disease progresses.

But many people develop strategies to better manage daily activities over time. One example: When you do laundry, you don’t necessarily need to hang up the entire load all at once. You could start with only some of the wet, heavy clothes and then finish the rest later on. There are a number of different devices and aids that can help make it easier.

Most people who have rheumatoid arthritis still want to mainly manage on their own in everyday life despite having the condition. Support from family and friends is then especially important. It’s also important for them to have a good understanding of the condition and the associated limitations it can cause.

Also Check: What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hip

How Is Arthritis In The Hand Treated

Treatment options depend on the type of arthritis, stage of arthritis, how many joints are affected, your age, activity level, the hand affected and other existing medical conditions.

Goals of treatment are to:

  • Improve mobility and function.
  • Increase your quality of life.
  • In the case of rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, to slow the progression of the disease.

Treatment options include splinting/bracing, medications, injections, non-drug approaches and surgery.

Splinting/braces

Splits or braces support and protect the affected joint, reduce deformity, provide joint stability, lessen strain, and promote proper joint alignment. Your healthcare provider, occupational therapist or hand therapist will discuss splinting/bracing options, how and when to wear them and how long to wear them .

Medications

Steroid injections

Steroids reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Steroids are usually used if medications dont control inflammation or if the inflammation is limited to a few joints. Injections are administered directly into the affected joint. Because steroids can weaken tendons and ligaments, injections are repeated only a few times.

Other management strategies

A complete treatment plan for arthritis of the hand includes these additional approaches:

Surgery

If nonsurgical treatments no longer provide relief and the cartilage at the ends of your bones has worn away, surgery may be an option. There are several approaches:

Rashes Ulcers And Bumps: How Ra Affects Your Skin

Rheumatoid Arthritis Animation – Cook Children’s

A skin rash or ulcers on the arms and legs sometimes occur in people with rheumatoid arthritis, especially if the disease has gone untreated for a long time, Dr. Greer says.

Up to 30 percent of people with RA develop rheumatoid nodules knots of inflammatory tissue just under the skin near a joint, according to research published in the journal Autoimmunity Reviews. Most often appearing on the elbows, hands, and feet, they can be treated with a steroid injection if they become bothersome.

All the conditions that affect the skin tend to resolve once RA is controlled with DMARD medications.

Read Also: Is Malt Vinegar Good For Arthritis

When Should I See My Doctor

If you notice symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, or you are concerned that you may have rheumatoid arthritis, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may refer you to a rheumatologist who is a doctor that specialises in joints. It is important to act quickly. The sooner you start treatment, the less likely you are to experience permanent joint damage and deformity.

What Are The Risk Factors For Ra

Researchers have studied a number of genetic and environmental factors to determine if they change persons risk of developing RA.

Characteristics that increase risk

  • Age. RA can begin at any age, but the likelihood increases with age. The onset of RA is highest among adults in their sixties.
  • Sex. New cases of RA are typically two-to-three times higher in women than men.
  • Genetics/inherited traits. People born with specific genes are more likely to develop RA. These genes, called HLA class II genotypes, can also make your arthritis worse. The risk of RA may be highest when people with these genes are exposed to environmental factors like smoking or when a person is obese.
  • Smoking. Multiple studies show that cigarette smoking increases a persons risk of developing RA and can make the disease worse.
  • History of live births. Women who have never given birth may be at greater risk of developing RA.
  • Early Life Exposures. Some early life exposures may increase risk of developing RA in adulthood. For example, one study found that children whose mothers smoked had double the risk of developing RA as adults. Children of lower income parents are at increased risk of developing RA as adults.
  • Obesity. Being obese can increase the risk of developing RA. Studies examining the role of obesity also found that the more overweight a person was, the higher his or her risk of developing RA became.

Characteristics that can decrease risk

Also Check: How To Cope With Arthritis

Causes And Risk Factors

Rheumatoid arthritis results from changes in the body’s immune system, which attacks the soft tissue of the joints causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. If the process continues, damage to the cartilage and other soft tissue can cause joint deformities.

Your immune systems normal function is to fight infections by producing antibodies that attack foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses that enter your body. If you have rheumatoid arthritis your immune system produces antibodies that attack the tissue that lines your joints making it sore and inflamed. The damage and pain can then spread to other tissue around the joints, including bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in the body but usually affects the small joints in the hands and feet before any of the larger joints such as hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows are affected. Joints are usually affected on both sides of the body.

The condition can develop at any age, though it is most likely to develop between the ages of 25 and 50 years. Rarely, children under the age of 16 years can develop a form of rheumatoid arthritis known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or Stills disease.

Factors that increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Your genes – rheumatoid arthritis appears to run in families
  • Hormones – changes or deficiencies in certain hormones may be involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis

What Are The Complications Of Ra

How Rheumatoid Arthritis Damages the Entire Body

Rheumatoid arthritis has many physical and social consequences and can lower quality of life. It can cause pain, disability, and premature death.

  • Premature heart disease. People with RA are also at a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. To prevent people with RA from developing heart disease, treatment of RA also focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors. For example, doctors will advise patients with RA to stop smoking and lose weight.
  • Obesity. People with RA who are obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being obese also increases risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Finally, people with RA who are obese experience fewer benefits from their medical treatment compared with those with RA who are not obese.
  • Employment. RA can make work difficult. Adults with RA are less likely to be employed than those who do not have RA. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they cannot do as much as they used to. Work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding. Work loss is lower among those in jobs with few physical demands, or in jobs where they have influence over the job pace and activities.

Don’t Miss: What Rheumatoid Arthritis Feels Like

Starting And Raising A Family

If you are taking medicines for rheumatoid arthritis, let your healthcare team know if you want to start a family or if you are worried about becoming pregnant while on medication.

Some medications, such as methotrexate, leflunomide and biological treatments, should not be taken by men or women while they are trying for a baby. The doctors and nurses will work with you to ensure your rheumatoid arthritis is controlled while you are trying to get pregnant.

Babies and young children are physically and mentally demanding for any parent, but particularly so if you have rheumatoid arthritis. If you are struggling to cope, it may help to talk to other people in the same situation as you. You may also be able to get additional support from your health visitor or occupational therapist to help you manage your young family.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis

The exact cause of RA is not known. RA is an autoimmune disorder. This means the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. This causes inflammation in and around the joints. This may damage the skeletal system. RA can also damage other organs, such as the heart and lungs. Researchers think certain factors, including heredity, may be a factor.

RA most often occurs in people from ages 30 to 50, but it can occur at any age. It happens more in women than in men.

Also Check: What Can Be Done For Arthritis In The Back

What Are The Early Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Early signs of rheumatoid arthritis include tenderness or pain in small joints like those in your fingers or toes. Or you might notice pain in a larger joint like your knee or shoulder. These early signs of RA are like an alarm clock set to vibrate. It might not always been enough to get your attention. But the early signs are important because the sooner youre diagnosed with RA, the sooner your treatment can begin. And prompt treatment may mean you are less likely to have permanent, painful joint damage.

Ra In The Skeletal System

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

One of the first indications of RA is inflammation in the small joints of the hands and feet. Often, RA is symmetricalaffecting both sides of the body at once. Symmetry is key to diagnosing RA. Sometimes, RA does not cause symptoms on both sides, especially early on in the disease. The condition will become symmetrical as RA progresses.

Additional joints symptoms of RA include pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness. These are usually much worse in the morning and can last for 30 or more minutes. RA can also cause tingling or burning in the joints.

RA symptoms can affect any of your joints, especially as RA progresses. This includes symptoms in the hands, feet, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles.

As the disease progresses, it will affect tendons, ligaments, and muscles. These symptoms will eventually lead to range-of-motion problems and difficulty with moving your joints. Long-term inflammation in affected joints will cause those joints to become damaged and deformed.

Having RA can put you at a higher risk for osteoporosisa condition that bone loss and weakness. This weakness can eventually lead to bone fractures .

Ongoing inflammation in your wrists may lead to a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome, which can make it harder to use your wrists and hands. This same inflammation can cause weakness and damage the bones of your neck and cervical spine causing severe, ongoing pain.

Recommended Reading: Is There Any Medicine For Arthritis

What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are several risk factors for developing rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

  • Family history: Youre more likely to develop RA if you have a close relative who also has it.
  • Sex: Women and people designated female at birth are two to three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Smoking:Smoking increases a persons risk of rheumatoid arthritis and makes the disease worse.
  • Obesity: Your chances of developing RA are higher if you have obesity.

What’s New In Arthritis Research

Progress is so fast in some areas of arthritis research today that the media often report new findings before the medical journal with the information reaches your doctor’s office. As a result, you need to know how to evaluate reports on new arthritis research.

Arthritis researchers are looking at four broad areas of research. These include causes, treatments, education and prevention.

Researchers are learning more about certain conditions. For example in osteoarthritis, researchers are looking for signs of early destruction of cartilage and ways to rebuild it. For rheumatoid arthritis and other types that involve inflammation, researchers are trying to understand the steps that lead to inflammation and how it can be slowed or stopped. An initial study suggests that fibromyalgia affects more older people than originally thought and often may be overlooked in this group. Your doctor can tell you about other new research findings. If you would like to take part in arthritis research, ask your doctor for a referral to a study in your area.

Many people help make arthritis research possible. The federal government through its National Institutes of Health is the largest supporter of arthritis research. Drug companies do the most research on new medications.

You May Like: Is Eating Tomatoes Bad For Arthritis

Popular Articles
Related news