04 Aug What Does A Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis Mean?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can damage a wide range of body tissue. It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and ultimately diminishes a person’s quality of life. Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis because it attacks the lining of the joints versus the joints themselves. This leads to painful swelling that slowly erodes joints and can lead to joint deformity. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than just the joints. It can lead to problems with the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose. However, the most common symptoms experienced by patients include tender and swollen joints, joint stiffness that is worse in the mornings, and fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. In the beginning stages, rheumatoid arthritis attacks the smaller joints of the body first. This means the joints in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. As the condition worsens, larger joints are affected. This can mean wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. Almost half of the people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis also experience symptoms that are unrelated to their joints. This can mean problems with their skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nerves, bone marrow, and blood vessels.
Most patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis do not have constant symptoms. They will experience flare-ups at some points along with periods of remission. During these times, pain and swelling will increase and then decrease. Unfortunately, over time, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to permanently deformed joints. While it is not known what causes rheumatoid arthritis, there are some risk factors that may make people more susceptible to the condition. This includes being female, being middle-aged, a family history of the condition, smoking, environmental exposures to silica or asbestos, and obesity.
Having rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk for developing osteoporosis, nodules around your joints, having dry eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart problems, lung disease, and lymphoma. As a result, if you are experiencing pain around your joints, it is important to get them checked as soon as possible. The sooner treatment is administered, the better chance it has of being effective. Treatment is primarily aimed at minimizing symptoms when flare-ups occur. However, in recent years, stem cell therapy has proven to be very effective in helping those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Not only does it minimize symptoms and pain, but it addresses the underlying causes of the condition as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a difficult diagnosis that can cause damage to more than just the joints in the body. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis often go through many different treatment plans before finding one that works well for their specific symptoms. Once diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, many patients require a mix of NSAIDs, steroids, therapies, and even surgery to help with the damage the disease causes. Fortunately, advances in stem cell therapy have shown it is effective in helping rheumatoid arthritis patients and can even reverse some of the damage the condition tends to leave patients with.