What Are Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Common complications of rheumatoid arthritis include the following:
Overall, the rate of premature death is higher in people with rheumatoid arthritis than in the general population. The most common causes of premature death in people with rheumatoid arthritis are infection, vasculitis, and poor nutrition. Fortunately, the manifestations of severe, long-standing disease, such as nodules, vasculitis, and deforming are becoming less common with optimal treatments.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And The Immune System
The driving force behind the development of rheumatoid arthritis is a malfunctioning immune system. Normally, the job of your immune system is to protect you against disease-causing invaders, such as harmful bacteria and viruses. It also helps your body heal after an injury. When it senses something wrong, it sends out inflammatory cells to fight off the threat or to begin the repair process.
In the short-term, this inflammation benefits your body. But if that inflammation becomes chronicor if it is triggered by things that are not true threats to your bodyit can cause scarring and damage in the areas where it occurs. For unknown reasons, rheumatoid arthritis causes your immune system to attack healthy cells in your joints. The inflammation spreads from there to the rest of your body.
Ra And The Respiratory System
Your lungs, says Dr. Chu, may be where RA starts. This could be due in part to smokings impact on the lungs, but other causes are also suspected. Theres a theory that the initial disease may begin in the lungs and then, with time, move into the joints, he explains. Untreated inflammation caused by RA can have serious consequences in your lungs, such as scarring, a condition called interstitial lung disease. It presents itself with shortness of breath or a dry, persistent cough, says Dr. Pala. Those would be alarming symptoms. And theres bad news: even if you successfully treat your RA, it may not help your lungs. We dont have a lot of effective treatments for lung disease, says Dr. Pala.
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What Are Causes And Risk Factors Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. Many risk factors are involved in the abnormal activity of the immune system that characterizes rheumatoid arthritis. These risk factors include
- genetics ,
- hormones , and
- possibly infection by a bacterium or virus.
Other environmental factors known to increase the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis include
- silica exposure, and
- periodontal disease.
Medical scientists have shown that alterations in the microbiome exist in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Emerging research shows that the microbiome has an enormous influence on our health, immune system, and many diseases, even those previously not directly linked to the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown different kinds of bacteria in the intestines of people with rheumatoid arthritis than in those who do not have rheumatoid arthritis. However, it remains unknown how this information can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment is probably not as simple as replacing missing bacteria, but this may explain why some individuals with rheumatoid arthritis feel better with various dietary modifications.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body.
RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness , and deformity .
RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
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Ra Flares Can Have Triggers
It is possible for a specific activity or event to initiate a flare-up. The activity or event sets off inflammation in the body that is difficult to stop. A flare may be triggered by:
- An illness, such as the flu
- An injury or surgery
- Certain foods
Triggers vary from person to person. In addition, not all RA flares have clear triggers.
What Are The Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is usually treated with a combination of medications to relieve swelling and pain while regulating the immune system. Joint surgery to relieve pain and disability, including joint replacement, may also be considered when these nonsurgical methods have failed to provide lasting benefit.
With early detection and intervention, RA and other forms of inflammatory arthritis can be treated very effectively. The connects patients quickly and efficiently with a rheumatologist who can evaluate their joint pain and get each patient started on an appropriate course of treatment. HSS also offers specialized for people with RA.
Today, we are blessed with a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis and characteristics of RA and the availability of safe and effective medications that can alter the natural history of RA and improve function. We start with the premise that RA is eminently controllable, and the goal of our therapies is “no evidence of disease.” That means no signs of redness, warmth, swelling or tenderness and normal function. Since we would not accept uncontrolled illness in angina, chronic obstructive lung disease, hypertension or diabetes, we should similarly not accept it in RA. Luckily, today, we have the therapeutic tools to make this happen.
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What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments
Despite significant advances in treatment over the past decades, rheumatoid arthritis continues to be an incurable disease. While there is no cure, the goal of disease remission is frequently attainable. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has two major components:
Rashes Ulcers And Bumps: How Ra Affects Your Skin
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.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The main joint symptoms are related to the inflammation and include pain, swelling, redness, warmth, weakness and limitation in range of motion of the affected joints. These joints will be tender to pressure and can occasionally appear red. Inside the joints, the immune system has been activated, and many cells proliferate in the joints producing fluid, and mediators of pain. If left untreated, this process can lead to joint damage.
The joint pains in RA behave in a specific manner and affect multiple joints on both sides of the body in what is called a symmetric pattern. That is, if your left knee is affected, your right knee will likely also be affected.
The joints most likely to be affected are the:
- small joints of the hands and feet
The external signs of inflammation reflect a potentially damaging disease process that can lead to injury to bone, cartilage, and soft tissues such as tendons. If left untreated, this can cause deformities and limitation in function. Fortunately, today we have excellent treatments that can stop this inflammation and avoid further damage.
When the disease is very active, one may also experience weight loss, loss of muscle mass and immune response effects on other organs.
Other Body Parts Ra Can Affect
- Bones. The chemicals that cause inflammation can also take a bite out of your bones. It often affects your hips and spine. Sometimes, itâs a byproduct of years of treating RA with steroids.
- Liver and kidneys. Itâs rare for RA to affect these organs. But the drugs that treat it can. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be bad for both. Cyclosporine may cause kidney disease. Methotrexate can damage your liver.
- Immune system. The medications you take can slow it down. This makes you more likely to get infections.
- Mucous membranes. You might be more likely to get a condition called Sjogrenâs syndrome that dries out moist places in your body like your eyes, your mouth, and inside your nose.
- Muscles. When inflammation stops you from moving your joints, the attached muscles can get weak. Or you could get a condition called myositis that weakens them. The medications you take for RA can also be to blame.
- Nerves. RA causes symptoms that range from numbness and tingling to paralysis. It can result from joint damage that RA causes, the disease process itself, or medications that treat it.
- Blood vessels. RA can cause inflammation of your blood vessels. It can show up as spots on the skin or can cause ulcers in more severe cases.
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How To Avoid Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the nerves in the body which is why a lot of patients experience numbness and sharp pain in affected areas. The condition is definitely alarming. It affects more parts of the body than you think. And does not just affect your joints as bones like most of the people say. It can also affect vital organs and affect your vision as well as your nerves. So, is vital to treat this condition as soon as possible to avoid complications of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Drain Your Brain And Mood
The fear that comes with living with any chronic illness, as well as dealing with daily pain and limited mobility, can take a toll on emotional wellness. But when it comes to RA, depression may be more than just an emotional response to the disease. There is a clear link between RA and depression, says Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, the chief of the clinical sciences section in the division of rheumatology at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston. We dont yet understand how much of the depression is from a reaction to the disease and how much is the inflammation of the disease, but they both contribute somehow.
What experts do know is that treating RAs inflammation helps quell the inflammation associated with depression. The opposite may also be true: Treating depression may lessen the pain of the disease. According to research presented in early June 2021 at the annual congress of the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology , catastrophizing about pain makes it worse, and it can actually physically impact the chances of RA remission.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The joints most often affected by RA are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows. The disease often causes inflammation in the same areas on both sides of the body. Symptoms may begin suddenly or slowly over time. Each persons symptoms may vary, and may include:
These symptoms can seem like other health conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Threatens Bone Health
RA can increase your risk of osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become less dense and more fragile, increasing the likelihood they will break.
The reason: The inflammation of RA accelerates the normal bone resorption when bone tissue is broken down to release minerals into the blood that leads to osteoporosis. Normally, the bone tissue thats broken down gets replaced, but as we age, the rate of resorption exceeds the rate of new bone growth, reducing bone mass and setting the stage for osteoporosis. RA makes it even harder for bones to keep pace. The hip, forearm and pelvis are typical sites where breaks can occur, although breaks are more likely near the joints where the RA is active.
Steroids, which are sometimes used to control RA, can especially speed bone loss.
The best way to protect bones: Eat calcium-rich and vitamin Drich foods like eggs and fish, as well as D-fortified foods do weight-bearing exercises that your doctor approves if you smoke, quit and get a bone mineral density test so your doctor can consider whether you need medication.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
Many people confuse rheumatoid arthritis with osteoarthritis due to their similar symptoms, but the two diseases are caused by different factors.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint malfunction due to inflammation, osteoarthritis is a mechanical disease brought on by the destruction of joints through wear and tear.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with approximately 27 million Americans over the age of 25 having been diagnosed with it. Osteoarthritis is also most commonly seen in people middle-aged to elderly and is the top cause of disability in those age groups, though it can also appear in younger people who have sustained joint injuries.
With osteoarthritis, the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone are all affected by deterioration and inflammation. When the cartilage begins to break down due to stress or changes in the body, the surrounding bones slowly get bigger and begin to fail.
Osteoarthritis is a slowly progressing disease and occurs in the joints of the hand, spine, hips, knees, and toes. Furthermore, risk factors of this disease most often stem from lifestyle or biological causes, such as:
Osteoarthritis sometimes occurs alongside rheumatoid arthritis or other disease, such as gout.
Psoriatic Arthritis Signs And Symptoms
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are often mild and affect a few joints, more typically the fingers and toes. Severe cases can lead to spinal damage and result in burning sensations, as well as pain and stiffness. Fingernails may also become discoloured and pitted. Symptoms of psoriasis are also common and include skin and nail changes which worsen if the arthritis is not sufficiently managed.
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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
Cartilage And Other Joint Tissues Are Damaged
The pannus cells release molecules called enzymes that damage cartilage and underlying bone. Over time, this damage can alter the alignment of the joints, lead to further pain and, in some cases, cause joint deformities.
Not all synovial tissue in the body will undergo these changes simultaneously. People with RA typically have certain joints that experience symptoms and other joints that do not.
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What Are Medical Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive inflammatory disease. This means that unless the inflammation is stopped or slowed, the condition will continue to worsen with joint destruction in most people. Although rheumatoid arthritis does occasionally go into remission without treatment, this is rare. Starting treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is strongly recommended. The best medical care combines medication and nondrug approaches.
Nondrug approaches include the following:
Drug approaches include a variety of medications used alone or in combinations.
What Areas Of The Body Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Mosaic Weighted Blanket
We are in need of solutions that soothe joints or muscles. What Areas Of The Body Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect. Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis may be hard sometimes you need help stretching with deep tissue tools and finding relief when sleeping with the Mosaic weighted blanket.
Im seeing a ton of rave reviews regarding these Mosaic blankets. I had to dig deeper and I found out that Mosaics are designed to be 8-12% of your body weight. Were referring to the same sort of hacks that provide calm to arthritis, anxiety, and also those that experience clinical PTSD. The idea is to give the feeling of being held or hugged to you. The fuzzy and warm feelings you get from this sort of sensory input is replicated through an weighted blanket. The majority of the times you experience pain or numbness in the joints or muscle its because you are unable to relax or stretch that joint or muscle.
This blanket, provides the experience of being hugged tight, which is as soothing regardless of your age.
Anyone who has experienced this type of distress and sought relief knows how frustrating it can be.
So at about $150 for the blanket that could last years and help alleviate pain and allow me to sleep it is a no brainer.
But beware, not all are created and just a few are made for breathability. Like any great idea, tons of brands pop up to provide inferior products .
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