Hand Of Woman Deformed From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dr. Manan Gujarathi, Orthopedic surgeon at SRV Mamata hospital
Pune, January 07, 2019: Expert says that there has been a steady rise in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, creating inflammation which causes swelling and pain in and around the joints. Often we think that arthritis is disease associated with the aging process that begins when hair starts greying. However, increasingly young patients are being diagnosed with arthritis of many joints all at the same time! This is termed as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Having rheumatoid arthritis is challenging at any age, but young adults and teens face particular that older adults may not.
First signs of rheumatoid arthritis include pain and stiffness in small joints such as fingers and toes, wrists etc. Often the pain affects many joints, worse during winter or after rest and better after few minutes of activity.
If the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis is confirmed, don’t lose hope! Diet rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants helped to limit the onslaught.
Tips to manage symptoms:
Not all joint pains are rheumatoid arthritis! Seek medical attention to identify the cause of joint pain. Often, laboratory tests such as CRP, ESR, RA Factor, Uric acid, Anti CCP may be necessary to pinpoint the diagnosis an x-ray may be required in more severe cases.
Infection in the recent past can contribute to joint pains because of the phenomenon of antigenic similarity. In antigenic biosimilarity, antibodies produced to counteract pathogens attack synovial tissue. In simple words, antibodies are soldiers produced by your own body to attack criminals like bacteria and viruses. However, the capsule of joints sometimes resembles a capsule of pathogens. Therefore soldiers produced by your own body attack on your own joints thinking they are criminals. This is called an autoimmune disease!
The course of recovery from rheumatoid arthritis is variable. Some patients obtain remission from the disease with a short period of medication while some may require prolonged continuous medication. If the structural damage to joint makes is significant, surgery may be necessary.
Staying flexible by pursuing exercises like swimming, yoga, and aerobics keeps your muscles strong and ligaments supple
In more complex cases your family doctor might ask you to take opinion from an orthopedic surgeon or Rheumatologist to hasten your recovery. Often the doctors will initiate you on DMARDs: DMARDs ARE NOT PAINKILLERS! They are specific drugs effective on rheumatoid arthritis that are relatively safe even when taken for long periods of time.
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