Who Gets Rheumatoid Arthritis
Certain risk factors make it more likely for you to get rheumatoid arthritis. These include:
- Age. You can get RA at any age however, the risk for getting RA goes up as you grow older.
- Sex. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common among women than men.
- Family history. If a family member has RA, you may be more likely to develop the disease.
- Smoking. People who smoke over a long period of time are at an increased risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis.
- Obesity. Being obese may increase your risk for the disease as well as limit how much the disease can be improved.
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Treated
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but early diagnosis and appropriate treatment enables many people with rheumatoid arthritis to have periods of months or even years between flares and to be able to lead full lives and continue regular employment.
The main treatment options include:
- medication that is taken in the long-term to relieve symptoms and slow the progress of the condition
- supportive treatments, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy, to help keep you mobile and find ways around any problems you have with daily activities
- surgery to correct any joint problems that develop
Read more about treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Is Rheumatoid Arthritis A Serious Illness
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. It causes pain and swelling in the joints, and if left untreated, can cause damage to the bones and cartilage. The best treatment is early diagnosis, and as a result of this, Rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be a serious illness. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause a number of problems for people, including balance problems. The balance problems can cause falls, which are potentially dangerous.
Recommended Reading: What Does Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Elbow Feel Like
Alternative And Complementary Therapies For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Certain lifestyle changes and home remedies may be beneficial in addition to the conventional treatment of medication, physical therapy, and surgery if needed.
Relaxation techniques, visualization exercises, group counseling, and psychotherapy can help reduce the stress of living with RA. Sleeping well is also an important part of managing symptoms.
You should always check with your medical provider before trying any complementary or alternative therapies.
How Is Ra Diagnosed
RA is diagnosed by reviewing symptoms, conducting a physical examination, and doing X-rays and lab tests. Its best to diagnose RA earlywithin 6 months of the onset of symptomsso that people with the disease can begin treatment to slow or stop disease progression . Diagnosis and effective treatments, particularly treatment to suppress or control inflammation, can help reduce the damaging effects of RA.
Also Check: What Can I Give My Dog For Arthritis Pain Natural
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 Do I Do If I Think I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
If youre experiencing joint pain and inflammation, its important that you discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Getting a diagnosis as soon as possible means that treatment can start quickly. Early treatment will help you to control the inflammation, manage pain more effectively and minimise the risk of long-term joint damage and disability.
If youre diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or suspected of having the condition, you may be referred to a medical specialist known as a rheumatologist for further investigations and medical treatment.
Read Also: Does Glucosamine Work For Arthritis
What Are The Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The immune system defends against pathogens like germs and viruses in a healthy person. The immune system misidentifies the bodys cells as foreign invaders in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and unleashes inflammatory substances that assault those cells.
The synovium, the tissue surrounding a joint that creates fluid to assist the joint move freely, is attacked by rheumatoid arthritis. The swollen, red, and sensitive joint area is caused by the thickening of the inflammatory synovium, which also makes moving the joint challenging.
Specialists are unsure about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis in humans. They speculate that these people may have particular genes that are brought on by an environmental trigger, such as a virus or bacteria, physical or emotional stress, or something else.
Rheumatoid arthritis has an elusive etiology. Genetics, hormones, and environmental variables may all have a role in its development, according to researchers. Your immune system often defends your body against illness. Something causes your immune system to assault your joints when you have rheumatoid arthritis. A trigger could be an infection, smoking, or physical or emotional stress.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis Scientists May Be Getting Closer
A new study may unlock a clue into the cause of rheumatoid arthritis: Gut bacteria.
The findings, published in the journal Autoimmunity on Oct. 26, could provide answers for the 1 in 100 people worldwide who suffer from this autoimmune disease that can cause chronic pain, loss of joint function, and joint damage.
What causes rheumatoid arthritis? Its not clear.
A previous study shows that the antibodies that trigger rheumatoid arthritis may begin developing in places like the lungs, mouth, and intestines more than a decade before the onset of symptoms. However, the authors of this new research believe they are providing answers to why antibodies form in specific areas for the first time.
In a syndicated article, lead author Meagan E. Chriswell, MD, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, wrote that her team was specifically interested in the bacteria in the microbiome, or a community of microorganisms in the intestines, might be involved. Why? Because these microbes typically live in the same areas as the antibodies that trigger rheumatoid arthritis. What if these bacteria were to blame for starting the production of these antibodies? They hypothesized that the antibodies developed to attack the bacteria but actually caused the immune system to go after the joints when they spread outside the intestines.
Read Also: What Is The Best Biologic For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Key Points About Rheumatoid Arthritis
- RA is a long-term that causes joint inflammation.
- RA can also affect many nonjoint areas such as the lungs, heart, skin, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and kidneys.
- RA may cause deformities in the joints of the finger, making movement difficult.
- The joints most often affected by RA are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows.
- Symptoms may include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling decreased and painful movement bumps over small joints and fatigue or fever.
Heart And Blood Vessels
People with RA are more prone to atherosclerosis, and risk of myocardial infarction and stroke is markedly increased.Other possible complications that may arise include: pericarditis, endocarditis, left ventricular failure, valvulitis and fibrosis. Many people with RA do not experience the same chest pain that others feel when they have angina or myocardial infarction. To reduce cardiovascular risk, it is crucial to maintain optimal control of the inflammation caused by RA , and to use exercise and medications appropriately to reduce other cardiovascular risk factors such as blood lipids and blood pressure. Doctors who treat people with RA should be sensitive to cardiovascular risk when prescribing anti-inflammatory medications, and may want to consider prescribing routine use of low doses of aspirin if the gastrointestinal effects are tolerable.
Read Also: How To Fix Hip Arthritis
Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Fatigue
Everyones experience of rheumatoid arthritis is a little different. But many people with RA say that fatigue is among the worst symptoms of the disease.
Living with chronic pain can be exhausting. And fatigue can make it more difficult to manage your pain. Its important to pay attention to your body and take breaks before you get too tired.
What are rheumatoid arthritis flare symptoms?
The symptoms of a rheumatoid arthritis flare arent much different from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. But people with RA have ups and downs. A flare is a time when you have significant symptoms after feeling better for a while. With treatment, youll likely have periods of time when you feel better. Then, stress, changes in weather, certain foods or infections trigger a period of increased disease activity.
Although you cant prevent flares altogether, there are steps you can take to help you manage them. It might help to write your symptoms down every day in a journal, along with whats going on in your life. Share this journal with your rheumatologist, who may help you identify triggers. Then you can work to manage those triggers.
Why Your Mental Health Matters With Ra
When pain reduces your ability to get around or do the things you love, its normal for emotions to get the best of you. Depression is not uncommon in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show a significantly increased risk of depression in people with RA, particularly in women and people older than 30 years of age.¹¹
Research also shows that people with RA and depression may experience a lower quality of life and higher disease activity than those without depression. Moreover, some people with chronic conditions, including RA, may be an increased risk for having suicidal thoughts.¹
The pain management community is just beginning to focus on the impact of chronic life on mental health. So its important to be proactive and tell your doctor if and when youre feeling depressed or anxious. Treatments from medication to talk therapy can help.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Test For Arthritis
Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors
Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors aid in reducing inflammation. However, they can produce the following GI symptoms:
on the cause of the complications. For example, in order to treat a persons amyloidosis, doctors must treat its underlying cause, which in this case is RA.
However, some RA treatments can cause GI symptoms.
To help relieve mouth sores, a person can try a saltwater rinse or use a mouthwash that contains lidocaine.
Additionally, a healthcare professional may be able to prescribe anti-nausea medication to help reduce feelings of nausea.
A person can discuss ways to reduce GI symptoms with a rheumatologist.
Certain GI symptoms may be harder to treat than others. For instance, because RV is a rare complication of RA, scientists have not collected much quality evidence about effective treatments.
A person with RA may also be able to relieve certain GI symptoms, such as nausea and dry mouth, without using medications. A doctor can advise them about safe home remedies to address such symptoms.
Moreover, physiological health conditions can negatively impact a persons psychological well-being. Some people with RA might therefore benefit from attending to their mental well-being by:
But Wait Ra Gets More Complicated: Symptoms And Causes
Rheumatoid arthritis can be complex. The specific reasons why some people develop it and others dont remain unknown. However, the medical community does know what may increase the risk and likelihood of developing the disease, such as having more levels of whats called rheumatoid factor in your blood .
In addition, while RA is considered a chronic condition meaning it has no cure and will never fully go away how severe the symptoms get differ from person to person, and flares may wax and wane. For example, when the disease is more active , symptoms become worse. When symptoms disappear, either on their own or with treatment, patients go into remission.³
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Since RA is an autoimmune disorder that attacks ones own body tissues, researchers are focusing on why these mistakes occur.
One factor that may play a role in the development of RA is that many people with the condition have higher levels of an antibody in their immune system: enter rheumatoid factor or RF for short. Low levels of this antibody can be present in healthy individuals or in people with other inflammatory conditions, but individuals with RA have higher levels of RF, as well as another antibody, the anti-CCP antibody. Both antibodies are signs of hyperactive immunity doctors use them to help confirm the diagnosis of RA.
Despite the unknowns about the causes of RA, there are some risk factors for developing this condition:¹
You May Like: Is Sugar Bad For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Use In Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials
Medical imaging has become a major tool in clinical trials since it enables rapid diagnosis with visualization and quantitative assessment.
A typical goes through multiple phases and can take up to eight years. or outcomes are used to determine whether the therapy is safe and effective. Once a patient reaches the endpoint, he or she is generally excluded from further experimental interaction. Trials that rely solely on are very costly as they have long durations and tend to need large numbers of patients.
In contrast to clinical endpoints, have been shown to cut down the time required to confirm whether a drug has clinical benefits. Imaging and surrogate endpoints have shown to facilitate the use of small group sizes, obtaining quick results with good statistical power.
Imaging is able to reveal subtle change that is indicative of the progression of therapy that may be missed out by more subjective, traditional approaches. Statistical bias is reduced as the findings are evaluated without any direct patient contact.
An imaging-based trial will usually be made up of three components:
Watch Our Video About What Rheumatoid Arthritis Is
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in joints.
It is what is known as an auto-immune condition. This means that the immune system, which is the bodys natural self-defence system, gets confused and starts to attack your bodys healthy tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the main way it does this is with inflammation in your joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 400,000 adults aged 16 and over in the UK. It can affect anyone of any age. It can get worse quickly, so early diagnosis and intensive treatment are important. The sooner you start treatment, the more effective its likely to be.
To understand how rheumatoid arthritis develops, it helps to understand how a normal joint works.
Recommended Reading: Is Oats Good For Arthritis
Can Hyperthyroidism Cause Arthritis
Researchers have not found that hyperthyroidism causes arthritis. However, they have found that there is a higher risk of RA among people with thyroid disease.
A 2020 paper emphasizes that the prevalence of RA is one to three times higher among people with autoimmune thyroid disease. Despite this, the study did not explain the mechanism behind this. Therefore, more research is necessary to identify the precise factors linking RA and thyroid disease.
It is important to note that treating thyroid disease will not prevent RA, but the presence of thyroid disease may indicate someone has a higher risk of RA.
Interestingly, muscle weakness is one of the
Though hyperthyroidism and RA sometimes occur together, they are separate medical conditions. A person must treat both individually to achieve symptom relief and reduce the risk of complications.
There is no cure for RA, but several treatments can help manage symptoms. They include:
Treatment for hyperthyroidism focuses on reducing the secretion of thyroid hormone.
How Does A Normal Joint Work
A joint is where two bones meet. Most of our joints are designed to allow the bones to move in certain directions and within certain limits.
For example, the knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most complicated. It must be strong enough to take our weight and must lock into position, so we can stand upright.
It also has to act as a hinge, so we can walk, and needs to twist and turn when we run or play sports.
The end of each bone is covered with cartilage that has a very smooth, slippery surface. The cartilage allows the ends of the bones to move against each other, almost without rubbing.
The joint is held in place by the synovium, which contains thick fluid to protect the bones and joint.
The synovium has a tough outer layer that holds the joint in place and stops the bones moving too far.
Strong cords called tendons anchor the muscles to the bones.
Also Check: Is Mackerel Good For Arthritis
Research On Rheumatoid Arthritis
In the last decade, much research has been conducted to increase our understanding of the immune system and what makes it malfunction. There have also been new therapies developed to help treat the disease. Some of the topics of intense research include:
What are the genetic factors that predispose people to develop rheumatoid arthritis?
Some white blood cells, commonly known as T cells, are important in maintaining a healthy and properly functioning immune system. However, scientists have discovered a variationcalled single nucleotide polymorphism in a gene that controls T cells. When the SNP gene variation is present, T cells attempt to correct abnormalities in joints too quickly, causing the inflammation and tissue damage associated with RA. The discovery of SNP may help determine peoples risk for getting RA and might help explain why autoimmune diseases run in families.
At conception, twins have an identical set of genes. So why would only one twin develop RA?
Favorite Online Support Network For Ra
The Live Yes! Arthritis Network, from the Arthritis Foundation, provides a network of support with the aim of helping people live their best lives. By exchanging ideas, tips, and experiences with others in provided online forums covering a variety of topics, the network empowers people with RA to gain confidence in dealing with their disease proactively.
Also Check: Does Lupus Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis