Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which causes joint inflammation and is usually chronic. It is in the family of autoimmune diseases which causes the body's immune system to destroy body tissue and sometimes it will even affect body organs. People who have this disease will suffer a great deal of joint pain and often joint deformation. Since it is a chronic disease, which means recurring, it can appear to be dormant for a time but then it reoccurs.
Rheumatoid arthritis often causes severe inflammation which can lead to other problems such as damage to surrounding tissues and muscles. This usually occurs when an individual tries to compensate for the pain by using other muscles inappropriately.
This is a disease that is usually progressive with time and usually affects more women than men. There are studies that indicate it can be hereditary. It can strike a person of any age but the most prominent age range is between forty and sixty. For many people rheumatoid arthritis causes severe crippling and joint damage which restricts their everyday lives.
There has been a lot of research done to determine the cause of rheumatoid arthritis but to date the exact cause is not known. Many researchers believe it to be caused by a virus but none can prove it. The environment seems to affect those who are afflicted with the disease, making their symptoms worse. Many people complain of increased pain with weather changes such as rain or extreme cold.
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?
The most effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce the inflammation. Once the inflammation is reduced the pain is usually reduced also. Another treatment goal is to keep joints as mobile as possible. This can be done by an exercise program which is directed at strengthening the affected joints. It is important to consult with your doctor at the first signs of inflammation or pain. Early detection can help to prevent or retard further arthritis damage.
Treatment is usually a combination of many factors. There are medicines which can help reduce the inflammation and also help control the pain. Your doctor can help you develop an exercise program which is aimed at keeping your joints moving comfortably. Since there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, treatment will be an ongoing thing for the rest of your life. It is important for you to continue with treatment even on the days when you are feeling better.
Getting plenty of rest, controlling your weight, and not smoking are also factors in successful treatment. Drinking plenty of the right kinds of fluids and keeping your body hydrated will also help with the pain and inflammation.