Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects the joints, but can also affect other parts of the body. It’s an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in your body. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause pain and swelling in your joints, making it difficult to move. In this blog, we give you an overview of rheumatoid arthritis and how you can manage to live with the condition.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. It most commonly affects the small joints of the hands and feet, but it can also affect larger joints such as the elbows and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain and swelling in the affected joints, which can make movement difficult and painful. As rheumatoid arthritis progresses, it may cause long-term joint damage, deformity, disability, and loss of function.
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it’s thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue in your joints. This can damage your body’s tissues and cause inflammation throughout your body.
Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age but is most common in people aged over 50. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are joint pain, swelling, stiffness and redness. Additional symptoms include lack of energy, sweating, high temperature, poor appetite and weight loss.
If you think you may have rheumatoid arthritis or another condition, talk to your doctor about getting tested for these diseases so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) mainly involves a physical examination, which is used to look at your joints to check for swelling and stiffness. Blood tests can help to confirm the diagnosis by checking for high levels of rheumatoid factors in your blood. Joint scans can be used to check for inflammation and damage.
Management of RA
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term condition that can affect your day-to-day life. It can be painful and may need long-term treatment to avoid damage to your joints. In addition to taking medication, you should also adapt to everyday tasks and continue with regular reviews of the condition so that you can keep your symptoms under control. Healthy eating and exercise will also help.
If you need more guidance on rheumatoid arthritis, give our London clinic a call and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment for you with one of our specialists.