Saturday, 09 March 2013 16:44

Fast Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that often occurs in middle age, medical expert say. Although it may happen at any age, it is more common in women between 30 to 60 years old.Oftentimes characterized by the inflammation of joints and its surrounding tissues, it affects joints on both sides of the body such as the wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles. Moreover, it is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system produces antibodies that attack the healthy tissues instead.

This disease progresses slowly or rapidly, depending on the individual. It may be determined by chronic joint pain, prolonged stiffening, and fatigue. If not treated early, the condition will eventually disable the person, halting any physical movement by destroying the joints, muscles, connective tissues and bones. There are no identifiable causes for the disease as of yet, although some have been suspected such as an abnormal autoimmune system, a viral infection, hormones, and an unhealthy lifestyle.  

Recent research has suggested that, although there is no known cure, the most that a person might be able to do is to get early aggressive treatment in order to try to reduce  or even prevent joint damage and deformity. For those suffering with this disease, this would be the main goal. Early aggressive treatment has been proven to provide better prognosis. Managing or treatment of this disease involves medication, physical therapy, rest, patient education, and surgery.

Medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis are divided into two classes: those that relieve the common symptoms and reduce inflammation and those that may modify or put the disease in remission. The latter are referred to as disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) and they help slow down progressive joint destruction.  Of course, medication would not be enough. It should be combined with proper rest, physical therapy, and constant interaction with a professional who is knowledgeable on the disease.

With physical therapy, the patient may work with a therapist that can provide specific exercises that will help in maintaining joint mobility and strengthening of the muscles around the joints.  The main objective is to reduce the strain on the joints, ligaments, and muscles. Swimming is recognized as one of the best forms of exercise for people with rheumatoid arthritis. It should be noted that not everyone is the same, therefore, some exercises or treatment may not be suitable for everyone. It will depend on the individual.

It is also important for the patient to be knowledgeable of their disease. It is best to work with a professional so that the patient may be able to make the right decisions about their treatment. Surgery is only recommended when treatment has failed to slow or prevent joint damage. Types of surgery will include total joint replacement, tendon repair, removal of the joint lining (also known as synovectomy), and joint fusion. Surgery may also be done to reduce pain and correct deformities. It is essential to note that there is always risk involve in surgery so it is important to thoroughly discuss this with the doctor.

An example for this would be the Stryker hip recall, in which recipient of their metal-on-metal hip implant suffered from the complications associated with the device which include inflammation, pain, and metallosis among others.

Because rheumatoid arthritis is a serious chronic disease that may have a lifelong impact on an individual, it is important to consistently live a healthy lifestyle and to be persistent in maintaining treatment. This may be done by keeping up with the progression of treatments, by following the right medication, proper rest and exercise as well as maintaining a strong medical support system. Early aggressive treatment is vital in achieving better outcomes. ThereforeFree Web Content, it is important to always be mindful of your health.