Rheumatoid Arthritis: About RA Symptoms & Treatments

By Davis Miller
Updated March 25, 2015
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Rheumatoid Arthritis: About RA Symptoms & TreatmentsRheumatoid arthritis is a disease that affects the joints of the body. It causes stiffness and limited range of motion. It is considered an autoimmune disease. In simple terms, this means that the immune system of an individual actually attacks its own tissue. Millions of people suffer from it and women are more likely to develop it than men.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the body mistakenly produces antibodies that attack, and destroy tissue in different parts of the body. This situation is usually inherited and can be traced back to a gene that is passed from one family member to another.

Symptoms of this disease will appear in the form of stiffness. This is commonly seen in the morning, when a person awakens from sleeping. He or she may find that it takes an abnormally long time for them to be able to move more freely. Even then, their range of motion may be somewhat inhibited.

Swelling is another indication of this form of arthritis, and it is usually the result of fluid finding its way into the joint. Pain is the most common symptom of all, and it is usually brought on by inflammation. There is no real know cause for the inflammation that occurs. However, inflammation inside of the joint can and will cause severe damage.

The affected area may become deformed and limit the person’s ability to function. This debilitating disease knows no boundaries when it comes to age. It can happen quickly without warning and may disguise itself as fatigue. Early diagnosis can have significant impact on the outcome of the disease.

Unfortunately, at this time, it cannot be cured, but with treatment, it can be managed. Aggressive treatment may prevent continued development of the disease and halt further deterioration of the joints. The best treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is comprised of several different things.

Education is the best line of defense against a disease that can cause so much distress. Physicians usually find that family participation helps in dealing with the issue. When the family and the medical professionals work together, it usually results in success. Medication plays a vital role in preventing the disease from taking control.

Prescription drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to block the inflammation. There is also over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen, which can drastically help. Immunosuppressants help by calming the immune system. The physician may prescribe all of these drugs depending on the patient and their symptoms.

Exercising the joints is another way to strengthen the area. Getting the proper rest can also help in the restorative process. Physical and occupational therapists can help the patient keep moving, and they can assist him or her to continue to do the everyday things associated with daily life.

Sometimes, the physician may suggest surgery. However, this is a last resort, and it will only be suggested because nothing else was able to prevent the joints from more deterioration. Depending on the severity, the doctor may suggest tendon repair, joint replacement, or joint fusion.

Once again, while there may not be a cure, there are ways to deal with this disease. Anyone with the disease can be assured that there are treatment options that can be done to aid in rehabilitating the person back to a happy and productive life.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.