Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the immune system of the body gets confused and starts to attack own body’s healthy tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that will eventually progress in bone erosion & joint deformity.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when our immune system attacks the synovium (the membrane that surrounds our joints).
The resulting inflammation thickens the synovium, which can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint.
The tendons and ligaments weaken and stretch. Eventually the joint loses its shape and alignment.
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. It is believed that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetically inherited (hereditary). It is also suspected that certain infection or factors in the environment might trigger the activation of the immune system in susceptible individuals. This misled immune system then attacks the body’s own tissues & this leads to inflammation in the joints and sometimes various organs of the body, such as lungs or eyes.
Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect many non-joint structures which include-
· Salivary glands
· Nerve tissue
· Bone marrow
· Blood vessels
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis on joint structures may include-
· Tender, warm, swollen joints
· Joint stiffness usually worse in the morning
· Loss of appetite
Periods of increased activity of disease is called flares, alternate with periods of relative remission. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis (R.A) can cause joints deformation.
It is difficult to diagnose R.A in early stages because it mimics the symptoms of many other diseases.
During physical exams, the doctor will check for swelling and redness in joints. They will also check for reflexes and muscle strength.
The doctor may recommend X-ray to track the progression of R.A in your joints over time.
To judge the severity of the disease doctor may recommend for MRI & ULTRASOUND.
People with rheumatoid arthritis often have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed. rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP), which may indicate the presence of working the inflammatory process in the body.
Other blood tests include the search for rheumatoid factor & anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.
There are two types of medications used in the treatment of R.A i.e. ‘first line’ drugs (fast acting) and ‘second line’ drugs (slow acting) AKA DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs).
The first line of drugs such as aspirin and cortisone (corticosteroids) [RAYOS, DEPO-MEDROL, SOLU-MEDROL, MEDROL 8mg] is used to reduce pain & inflammation.
The second line drugs such as Methotrexate [FOLITRAX, MEXT, IMPUTREX, ONCOTREX] and Hydroxychloroquine [HYQ 400, HCQS-200, HQTOR 200, QDMRD 400] which promote disease remission and prevent progressive joint destruction.
The areas of the body other than the joints that are affected by rheumatoid inflammation are treated individually.
SJOGREN’S syndrome can be helped by artificial tears and humidifying rooms. Medicated eye drops such as Cyclosporine ophthalmic drops [NANO TEARS] are also used to help the dry eyes in those affected.
Inflammation of the tendons (Tendinitis), bursae (Bursitis) and rheumatoid nodule can be infected with cortisone.
Inflammation of the lining of the heart and lungs may require high doses of oral cortisone.
In some cases, with severe joint deformity, surgery may be recommended to restore joint mobility or repair damaged joints. Doctors for these joint surgeries are Orthopedic surgeons.
R.A surgery may involve one or more of the following procedures-
· Synovectomy- Surgery to remove the inflamed lining of the joint (Synovium) can be performed on knees, elbows, wrists, fingers & hips.
· Tendon repair- Inflammation and joint damage may cause tendons around your joint to lose or rupture.
· Joint fusion- Surgically fusing joint may stabilize or realign a joint and for the pain relief when a joint replacement isn’t an option.
· Total Joint replacement- During joint replacement surgery, your surgeon removes the damaged parts of your joint & inserts a prosthesis made of metal and plastic.
Check these amazing posts also Myasthenia Gravis
Do follow us on our social media sites to get the proper updates