Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic
autoimmune disease that primarily affects the
joints, causing inflammation, pain, and
stiffness. It can also affect other parts of the
body, such as the skin, eyes, heart, and lungs.
RA occurs when the immune system mistakenly
attacks the body's own tissues, particularly the
lining of the joints, leading to joint damage
and deformity over time.
Here are some key points about rheumatoid
Symptoms: Common symptoms of
RA include joint pain, swelling, and
stiffness, especially in the hands, wrists,
and feet. Morning stiffness that lasts for
more than an hour is a characteristic feature.
Fatigue, loss of appetite, and a general
feeling of being unwell may also occur.
arthritis is a progressive disease that can
worsen over time if left untreated. It can
lead to joint deformity, functional
impairment, and reduced quality of life.
However, early diagnosis and appropriate
treatment can help manage symptoms and slow
down disease progression.
RA is typically diagnosed through a
combination of medical history, physical
examination, blood tests (such as rheumatoid
factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide
antibodies), and imaging (X-rays or
ultrasound) to assess joint damage and
Treatment: The goal of
treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is to
reduce pain, inflammation, and joint damage,
improve physical function, and enhance overall
well-being. This is usually achieved through a
combination of medications (such as
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,
disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, and
biologic agents), physical therapy, assistive
devices, and lifestyle modifications (such as
regular exercise and stress management).
RA management often involves a
multidisciplinary team, including
rheumatologists, primary care physicians,
physical therapists, and occupational
therapists. They work together to develop a
personalized treatment plan that addresses
individual needs and preferences.
It's important for individuals with
rheumatoid arthritis to actively participate in
their treatment, adhere to medications, and
communicate any changes or concerns to their
healthcare team. Regular monitoring and
adjustments to the treatment plan may be
necessary to manage symptoms effectively and
improve quality of life.