Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune disease, systemic, affecting more than one or two joint ,nodule-forming degenerative joint disease, affecting small joints more commonly for example hand and feet.
It is an autoimmune disorder because in rheumatoid arthritis your own immune system mistakenly sends antibodies which attacks your own body tissue mainly near joints, which causes thinning of cell layer which is covering the joints and causes soreness and inflammation at the joint surface.
Most common age in which rheumatoid arthritis affects is more than 30 years or between 30-60 years of age.
Women are more prone to rheumatoid arthritis than man and the ratio is 3:1.
THERE are a number of risk factor which may cause the development of rheumatoid arthritis –
Genetics -rheumatoid arthritis runs in families but the risk is low.
Hormonal – as women are more prone for rheumatoid arthritis than men because of the presence of estrogen hormones and its effects.
Smoking- people who smoke are at severe risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. That is why in rheumatoid arthritis your doctor will prescribe you to stop and avoid smoking.
Alcohol -alcohol also affects the body badly in rheumatoid arthritis so it should be avoided
Symptoms and signs:-
Morning stiffness of more than 30 minutes.
Pain, warm, Tenderness, and Swelling for six weeks or longer.
Small joints such as hand and feet are affected.
Stiffness of joint
Decrease range of motion
same joints of both sides are affected in your body.
As I told you earlier rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, therefore, it is affecting following-
Bone marrow, etc
Generally, your doctors will tell you for some test
x-ray- in x-ray there is rheumatoid nodules can be seen, bone degeneration and erosion is clearly seen.
Blood investigation can be prescribed by your doctor-
Elevated Esr (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) may be found
C-reactive protein may show the presence of an inflammatory process in your body.
Another common test for rheumatoid arthritis is
Rheumatoid factor test
Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide(anti-ccp)
Medical treatment –
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help to reduce pain, drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac etc.
DMARDs(disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs)-slows the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. example- methotrexate
Steroids- corticosteroids, example -prednisolone
Your doctor will send you for physical therapy and occupational therapy. This will help you to live and maintain your activities of daily living.
Physical therapy:-basic goals of physiotherapist Is to prevent and reduce pain and deformity.
Initially up to 1-month rest and cold pack or contrast bath(hot and cold water bath in an alternate pattern) will be helpful.
Reduce swelling and increase the range of motion.
Initiate active movements and active is not possible passive movement will be prescribed.
Paraffin wax bath is important for making joint supple and mobile.
Braces or splint will be helpful for supportive devices.
For support during walking, a gutter crutch is most commonly prescribed by your doctor or therapist.
If medical or therapeutic treatment will not helpful to reduce problem then surgery may be recommended.
To prevent the deformities such as swan-neck deformity, boutonniere deformity these following Surgeries are recommended-
After surgery also physical therapy or occupational therapy is regularly prescribed.