Understanding and Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues. It is a chronic condition that can cause significant pain and disability. RA affects more than 1.3 million Americans and is more common in women than in men.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The exact cause of RA is not known, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is thought that certain changes in the immune system trigger the inflammation associated with RA.
What are the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The most common symptoms of RA are joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion. Other symptoms may include fatigue, fever, and weight loss.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?
RA is diagnosed based on a physical exam, medical history, and laboratory tests. X-rays and other imaging tests may be used to help diagnose RA.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?
Treatment for RA focuses on reducing inflammation and relieving symptoms. Medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and biologics, may be used to reduce inflammation and pain. Physical therapy and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and weight loss, can also help manage symptoms. Surgery may be necessary in some cases.
How to Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Managing RA can be a challenge, but there are ways to help reduce pain and improve quality of life. A healthy diet, exercise, and stress management strategies can all help. It is also important to be aware of potential triggers.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that can cause significant pain and disability. Treatment focuses on reducing inflammation and relieving symptoms. It is important to be aware of potential triggers and to make lifestyle changes to help manage symptoms.