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.
Both Sides Of The Body Affected
Typically, the distribution of the joints involved in a person with rheumatoid arthritis is similar on both sides of the body. This symmetric joint involvement is a feature of classic rheumatoid arthritis. This does not mean that joint involvement is always symmetric, but it is common.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually involves many joints on both sides of the body. It is, therefore, sometimes referred to as an asymmetric polyarticular form of arthritis.
- Accordingly, the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet are commonly affected.
- The knees, ankles, shoulders, hips, and elbows can also be involved in early disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by inflammation in these joints.
- Early manifestations of this inflammation can be gradual or rapidly intense.
- The joint inflammation causes stiffness, usually worse in the morning or after being sedentary.
- It also causes warmth, swelling, redness, and pain in varying degrees.
- The joint can be very subtly affected with slight swelling or markedly affected with substantial loss of range of motion.
- The pain level can be completely disabling and does not always correlate with the degree of apparent inflammation.
Signs Your Hand Pain Is Not Due To Rheumatoid Arthritis
Pain and stiffness in the hand are hallmark signs of rheumatoid arthritis, but these symptoms can stem from many other different conditions.
Sometimes, it can be very difficult to make the distinction of whether current symptoms in the hand are from ongoing inflammation, from damage or another condition like OA, or a whole other entity, says Dr. Albayda.
Some clues that your hand pain may not stem from rheumatoid arthritis include:
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Can Arthritis In The Hand Be Prevented
Arthritis cant be prevented. However, you can watch for symptoms of arthritis as you age and see your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your joints. You can also take steps to control factors that you can control. Eat healthy to nourish your body and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more stress on your joints. Dont smoke. Smoking increases your risk of arthritis.
Applying For Disability Benefits
The Social Security disability benefit claims and approval process is detailed and complicated. In order to be approved for benefits, you need to provide as much documentation and evidence as possible.
You will be required to provide tests that confirm your diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, which will include scans such as MRIs, x-rays, and blood tests.
Your doctors detailed notes that indicate any limitations or restrictions are also required. Your records should detail any treatments you have undergone and how your condition responded to them.
You can start the application process online on the SSA’s website. You can schedule an appointment at your local SSA office to start the application in person as well. Because the claims process is complicated, you can benefit significantly by recruiting the help of a disability attorney or advocate.
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Can Moist Heat Or Ice Help Ra Pain
Both of these simple methods can ease RA pain and stiffness.
Use a warm, moist compress on your fingers and hands for 15 minutes before you exercise.
To reduce swelling, use ice packs. Put an ice pack on the painful joint for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
You may want to switch between moist heat and ice packs. Experiment to find out what works best for you, and then make it part of your routine before and after exercise. Read more about heat and cold therapy for arthritis pain.
What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Nodules
Rheumatoid nodules are firm, noticeable lumps that form underneath the skin of some rheumatoid arthritis patients. They generally form on or near the base of the arthritic joints.
Typically, rheumatoid nodules appear in the following locations:
- Fingers and knuckles
- Backs of heels
Less commonly, nodules may form in the eyes, lungs and vocal cords but these represent severe cases.
Furthermore, rheumatoid nodules can vary in size and shape. Most nodules have a circular shape, however, some can be linear in shape as well. Also, they can range from small and pea-sized to as large as a walnut. When rheumatoid nodules form a cluster of tiny nodules, they are referred to as micro-nodules. This severe, less common case of micro-nodules generally occurs around the arthritic finger joints.
Though nodules are firm or even doughy to the touch and dont cause any feelings of tenderness, they can occasionally be painful. Pain typically occurs when flare-ups are active and the joints become inflamed such that it impacts the nodules and the area around them.
Rheumatoid nodules are capable of moving around but some form a connection with the tendons or tissue beneath the skin and become fixed.
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Is It Arthritis In My Hand Or Tendonitis
Arthritis and tendonitis can mimic each other, so its important to understand the difference between the two. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons in your hand due to an injury or repetitive motion, and the pain can come and go suddenly or last for a few days.
Arthritis, however, is inflammation of the joint due to degenerative joint disease. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common forms are osteoarthritis , when the protective cartilage in the joint breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis , when immune system attacks the joints. Early symptoms of arthritis include painful hand joints, burning sensation and decreased functionality of the hand and/or wrist.
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:
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When To Stop Working With Rheumatoid Arthritis
When someone is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, usually they are prescribed pain medication and recommended to do some form of physical therapy to help manage the pain from it.
Since rheumatoid arthritis affects people differently who have it, it can be difficult to determine when to decide to stop working.
The simple answer for when to stop working with rheumatoid arthritis is that if you cannot physically perform your job functions because of it.
If you believe that your rheumatoid arthritis will make it impossible for you to work for at least a year, then you may want to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
Before you stop working, it is important to get all the proper documentation in order beforehand for when you start the application process for Social Security disability benefits.
It is recommended that you consult with your doctor before starting the application process and before you stop working.
If you have exhausted all options and you can no longer perform your job functions like you could before your diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, then you may want to stop working and consider filing an application for Social Security Disability Insurance .
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.
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Explain The Pain Is It Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis
If opening jars becomes more difficult because of painful hands, or if climbing stairs produces pain in your knees, “arthritis” is often the first thing that comes to mind. The two most common forms of arthritisosteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritiscan cause similar aches and pains, but there are a few key differences between them. For example:
Onset. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage wears away. Pain occurs when bone rubs against bone. This type of arthritis pain tends to develop gradually and intermittently over several months or years.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting 27 million Americans. Many people believe it’s a crippling and inevitable part of growing old. But things are changing. Treatments are better, and plenty of people age well without much arthritis. If you have osteoarthritis, you can take steps to protect your joints, reduce discomfort, and improve mobility all of which are detailed in this report. If you don’t have osteoarthritis, the report offers strategies for preventing it.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an inflammatory condition in which your immune system attacks the tissues in your joints. It causes pain and stiffness that worsen over several weeks or a few months. And joint pain isn’t always the first sign of rheumatoid arthritissometimes it begins with “flu-like” symptoms of fatigue, fever, weakness, and minor joint aches.
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.
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What Outcome Can I Expect If I Have Arthritis In My Hands
There is no cure for arthritis. However, you can usually manage mild to moderate symptoms with a combination of medication and non-medication approaches. Surgery may be an option if other treatments fail or the arthritis in your hands is severe. Your healthcare provider will explain what outcome you can expect for your type and severity of arthritis, your age, other existing medical conditions and other factors.
Hacks That Lend A Helping Hand
Next time hand pain strikes, try these creative ways to use everyday items for carrying out daily tasks:
1. Use a kitchen sponge for stability. Gripping a mixing bowl in a pinching manner while you stir the contents is tough on the joints. Placing a damp sponge under the bowl helps it stay in place with much less hand support, Lieberman says. A damp cloth is equally effective.
2. Try an apron as a tool belt. Whether youre doing minor repair work or cleaning around the house, holding supplies like a hammer and nails or a scrubber and sponge when youre not actually using them fatigues your fingers. If you wear a kitchen apron, you can store the items in the pockets until you need to use them.
3. Use headbands as pullers. When you have RA, its better to pull things with your forearms rather than your fingers, Lieberman says. Thats why she suggests wrapping headbands with Velcro closures on the refrigerator and oven doors. Simply loop your arm into it before you pull.
The same concept applies to your purse: If you find it hard to close handbags, try adding a keyring with an attachment to your zipper, says healthcare provider Robbie Cassidy, as shared on Tippi RA.
5. Stick a tennis ball on your toothbrush. If you dont have a specially made grip for your toothbrush, simply slice a tennis ball and insert the handle end inside. This gives you a larger surface area to hold during the two minutes you should be brushing.
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Get A Free Case Evaluation
A disability lawyer could improve your odds of being approved for monthly disability benefits.
You have a lot to gain from a successful Social Security disability claim. A successful claim wouldnt just mean consistent financial support for your ailmentit would also grant you the kind of stability that you may have been missing out on for years now.
Unfortunately, winning a claim isnt a cakewalk, which is why you should consider consulting a Social Security disability attorney or advocate.
Your attorney will use his or her knowledge and experience to fight on your behalf and help you get the benefits you needand you dont even need to pay your lawyer unless you win.
A successful Social Security claim could be life-changing, so dont wait to get an evaluation and talk to a Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible.
Should I Exercise My Hands
Dont be afraid to use your hands. Regular exercise is important in reducing stiffness and keeping your joints and muscles working. Try to make sure you move any affected joints in your fingers, thumbs, knuckles and wrists as far as is comfortable several times a day. You could also see an occupational therapist or physiotherapist for specific hand exercises.
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Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Hands
The most common symptoms of RA in the hands and fingers are pain, swelling, and stiffness. However, there are other symptoms you may experience:
- Warmth and tenderness in hands and fingers
- Pain and stiffness of the hands and fingers for more than an hour upon awakening
- Misshapen fingers
People who have hand involvement with RA will experience symptoms in both hands.
Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
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What Are Some Complications Of Ra
In some cases, RA may deform the joints to the point where treatment is required. A boutonniere deformity involves the middle finger joint being being bent toward the palm while the last joint of the finger bends the opposite way. This is a result of chronic inflammation of the middle finger joint. The treatment for this usually involves surgery to keep the middle joint extended properly. In severe cases, surgery might be necessary.
Another common complication is the swan-neck deformity. This happens when the outermost joint of the finger and the one that connects it to the hand both bend while the middle joint stays straight. Over time, this can lead to a swan-neck position. This deformity makes it difficult to perform tasks like holding a cup, button a shirt or tie your shoes. The treatments for this can include ring or finger splints. Surgery may be needed to realign or fuse the joints so that they move properly.
Preventing Hand Deformities Due To Ra
The best way to prevent hand deformities is to get early, aggressive, and targeted treatment for your RA. This strategy has helped make joint deformities less common and less severe than they used to be.
Early, aggressive treatment and a targeted approach are also tied to better overall outcomes and a lower risk of death from RA-related complications. Research shows that, with proper treatment, the average person with RA has only a 15% increased chance of premature death.
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Are There Any Home Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis
If someone has joint pain or stiffness, he or she may think it is just a normal part of getting older and that there is nothing he or she can do. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are several options for medical treatment and even more to help prevent further joint damage and symptoms. Discuss these measures with a health-care professional to find ways to make them work.
- First of all, don’t delay diagnosis or treatment. Having a correct diagnosis allows a health-care professional to form a treatment plan. Delaying treatment increases the risk that the arthritis will get worse and that serious complications will develop.
- Learn everything about rheumatoid arthritis. If there are any questions, ask a health-care professional. If any questions remain, ask the health-care professional to provide reliable sources of information. Some resources are listed later in this article.
- Know the pros and cons of all of treatment options, and work with a health-care professional to decide on the best options. Understand the treatment plan and what benefits and side effects can be expected.
- Learn about the symptoms. If someone has rheumatoid arthritis, he or she probably has both general discomfort and pain in specific joints. Learn to tell the difference. Pain in a specific joint often results from overuse. Pain in a joint that lasts more than one hour after an activity probably means that that activity was too stressful and should be avoided.
Increase physical activity.