Rheumatoid Arthritis or “RA” is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks its own body tissues. This disease affects the lining of joints causing pain and swelling. Eventually the swelling can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. RA can happen to anyone at any age, but the majority of people who have to endure this disease are women over the age of 40.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a joint attacking disease, but RA can attack any organ in the body. There is no unique test to diagnose RA, doctors look at signs and symptoms of the patient. Infectious agents have long been suspected as potential triggers of RA. Some external triggers, such as smoking, infection, or trauma could even affect the
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Occupational and physical therapy can also help the patient learn how to take care of their joints. Many of the medications to help RA have many risky side effects. Over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) medications such as Ibuprofen and Aleve can help with the pain. Stronger NSAIDs can be received by prescription, these can have side effects, including stomach irritation and liver or kidney damage. Steroids, such as prednisone, reduce inflammation and pain and slow joint damage. These also have risky side effects, like bone thinning, weight gain, and diabetes. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can help slow the progression of RA and can save the joints and tissues from permanent damage. These side effects include, liver damage and severe lung infections. Doctors may also send patients to a therapist to teach them exercises to help keep their joints flexible. If worse comes to worse and the medications do not seem to be helping, surgery may be the next step to repair the damaged joints. The doctor could do a complete joint replacement, where they remove the damaged parts of the joints and replace them with a prosthesis made of metal and plastic. (Shiel, W. (2015, March 17). Rheumatoid Arthritis.) Doctors could also help by using joint fusion. Surgically fusing a joint may be recommended to stabilize or realign a joint and for pain relief. A person with RA