Autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Autoimmune diseases are the illnesses that occur in our body. This happens when our tissues are mistakenly attacked by their own immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis is one such autoimmune disease. RA as it is called generally causes chronic inflammation of the joints.

Our immune system contains a complex organization of cells and antibodies. These antibodies are designed by nature such a way to search and destroy invaders of the body. These mainly concentrate on infections. Now in the case of patients with autoimmune diseases, they have antibodies and immune cells in their blood that target their own body tissues. In these, they can be associated with inflammation. The main characteristics of RA are the inflammation of the tissue. These happen around the joints and inflammatory arthritis. The disease can also cause inflammation and injury in other organs in the body. It is found that RA affects other organs of our body. It is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.

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During the initial few days of rheumatoid arthritis, people may experience tenderness and pain. They might not initially see redness or swollen part in the joints. Yet rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by some of these common symptoms.

Morning stiffness for 30 minutes or longer, joint pain, tenderness swelling or stiffness for six weeks or longer happen when more than one joint is affected. Smaller joints including wrists, certain joints of the hands and feet are affected.The same joints on both sides of the body are affected

The symptoms and effects of RA may come and go. A period of high disease activity which increases inflammation and other symptoms are called  flares. A flare can last for days or months. Along with pain, many people experience fatigue, loss of appetite and a low-grade fever.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Researchers are still working to understand the reason behind rheumatoid arthritis. The exact and very particular cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. However, there are many suspected reasons for rheumatoid arthritis. They are namely bacteria, fungi and viruses. This misdirected immune system then attacks the body’s own tissues. This leads to inflammation in the joints and sometimes in various organs of the body. These are the lungs or eyes. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis has been an active area of worldwide research. It is believed that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be inherited through genes also.

It has been identified that environmental factors also seem to play some role in causing rheumatoid arthritis. There are various theories about different gut bacteria. This generally might start and enhance  the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in genetically susceptible individuals. Gut bacteria are microbes that inhabit the lining of the bowels. No specific microbes have been identified as definite causes.

Whatever may be the exact trigger, the result is an immune system that is geared up. This is to promote inflammation in the joints and other tissues of the body. Immune cells, called lymphocytes, are activated. These triggers  chemical messengers called cytokines.

Diagnosis

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Rheumatoid arthritis can be diagnosed by various causes and factors. These tests are based on various medical tests. Physical examination based on the prevailing inflammation is one of them. Additionally, the softness of tissues is measured. There are antibodies called rheumatoid factor. Apart from all these there is  is a major helping test called as the imaging test. These are the various methods to identify rheumatoid arthritis.

A primary care physician may suspect rheumatoid arthritis  based in part on a person’s signs and symptoms. If so, refer the patient to a rheumatologist.  He is a specialist with specific training and skills to diagnose and treat RA. In its early stages, rheumatoid arthritis  may resemble other forms of inflammatory arthritis. We cannot confirm rheumatoid arthritis by doing a single test. To diagnose the disease, take-up the above-mentioned tests.

Treatment

Till date, there is no particular known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. With the help of oral medications, you can relieve the symptoms and prevent its progression. The commonly prescribed medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis varies from painkillers to biological drugs.  There are also disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

The effects of these drugs vary anywhere between reducing pain, inflammation and swelling of the joint. Biological drugs seem to be the newest and most effective and advanced treatment options.

Additionally, in some cases, reversing rheumatoid arthritis could be possible through proper yoga(especially pranayama). A proper nutrition is effective treatments for arthritis.

Medication available for RA

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There are several medications available for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Therapies are also available. Medication-based therapies comprise include non-biologic and biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). There are immune suppressants non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids. It is found that early therapy with DMARDs has become the standard of care. It is capable not only of retarding disease progression more efficiently.

There are various surgical treatments for RA. This includes tendon realignment, tenosynovectomy, synovectomy, and reconstructive surgery or arthroplasty.

From the teenage period, at least, proper healthy food and especially of protein and calcium combined with physical workouts daily and some yoga asanas are real solutions to avoid to a major extent any kind of arthritis including RA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis can be effectively treated by Self care.  It takes a proactive role in treatment and maintaining a good quality of life. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, can help train painful muscles to relax. Research shows massage can help reduce arthritis pain, improve joint function and ease stress and anxiety. According to a recent research it is found that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are likely to have a much better quality of life. This is the case  today than they did two decades ago. This can be greatly  attributed to various factors. Starting from earlier diagnosis, more aggressive medications and a greater emphasis on  well-be

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