Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that commonly affects the area around the joints. This article summarizes everything you should know about it. Read on to learn about its symptoms and treatment options.
A kind of autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis happens when the immune system malfunctions and causes damage to tissues and muscles. It usually attacks the joint area, but it can also affect other parts, including the eyes, blood vessels, heart, and lungs. If the case is severe, it can lead to deformity and other serious problems.
Medical experts have yet to pinpoint what exactly causes this condition. But, it’s associated with certain risk factors, including:
- Age and Sex - Rheumatoid arthritis can happen to anyone at any age, but studies show that middle-aged women are more susceptible to it.
- Lifestyle - People who smoke are highly likely to develop severe cases of this condition.
- Obesity - Those who are obese have higher chances of having this disorder as they get older.
- Genes - People who have family members with rheumatoid arthritis are at risk of developing the condition as well.
Symptoms and Complications
In its first stage, this condition will cause inflamed joints and slight discomfort, particularly around the fingers and wrists. It’s also possible that the person will feel numbness in their limbs upon waking up or after prolonged inactivity.
If not treated quickly, their condition will progress and cause more serious problems. The pain will become more severe, and they’ll also experience fatigue, nausea, fever, and loss of appetite. Soon, the signs of rheumatoid arthritis will show in other parts of the body, including the skin, eyes, nerve tissues, bones, heart, and lungs.
When these symptoms show, the person should seek help from a medical professional. Otherwise, they may develop complications, such as osteoporosis and organ problems, which are harder to treat.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
A person needs to have several examinations to determine if they indeed have rheumatoid arthritis. They’ll be required to get blood assessments to ascertain the level of antibodies in their system. It’s also possible for them to undergo an X-ray, CT, or MRI scan to let the doctor learn how much of their tissues and bones have been damaged.
An expert proficient in degenerative joint disease in Atlanta may advise several treatment options. For mild cases, taking certain medications is recommended to ease the pain and prevent the immune system from attacking the body’s tissues and muscles. Those who have serious conditions, meanwhile, may be required to undergo therapy or surgery for the arthritis and joint replacement for severe damage.