Rheumatoid arthritis is another condition of the joints that cause swelling, pain, and stiffness to them. It differs from osteoarthritis in the sense that it is of autoimmune in origin and over time, the condition can result to irreversible, crippling joint damage. The most susceptible age groups for rheumatoid arthritis are people between ages 25-60. Symptoms of the condition are easy to detect and joint damage may start progressing in as early as the first two years of perceiving the symptoms. Since it involves not just the bones but the immune system of the body as well, early detection, diagnosis, and immediate treatment or medication therapy are all important to improve the quality of life of the patient who suffers from it.
RA, just like osteoarthritis exhibits stiffness of the joints, limited mobility, and weakness of the extremities since those are the usual affected parts, body malaise, and low-grade fever. Sometimes, the appearance of nodules near the joints of the fingers can be observed, some joints may even fuse, and there is swelling of the oral glands, the linings of the heart and lungs, and tear glands. Women are more susceptible to acquire the condition and those who have been born from parents with RA are also highly at risk of having the disease later on in life.
Just like its sister osteoarthritis, RA has no cure yet so goals for treating the condition focuses on managing the pain and discomfort brought about by it. The main objectives for managing the condition is to somehow maintain good joint function, halt and curb the onset of joint damage, and reduce immobility, stiffness, and pain.
First off, analgesics and other medications for swelling and inflammation should always be in the treatment plan. Rehabilitative therapy to restore optimum mobility to the joints should be performed, and for worst cases, surgery.
People with rheumatoid arthritis cope up with the condition by living a healthier lifestyle as much as possible, and actively participate in exercise routines. Best of all, staying positive is key, so smile and work it all off for your health. Good luck!