Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition that can last for years without any symptoms. If not treated properly,rheumatoid arthritis leads to substantial loss of functioning.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Arthritis a complex family of joint disorders involving inflammation of one or more joints. An estimated 70% individuals above the age of 65 in North America are affected by arthritis. Women are more prone to arthritis as compared to men and can affect all races, groups and cultures. The most common form of the condition is rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease that results in a chronic and systemic inflammatory disorder affecting small joints in hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of joints, causing a painful swelling, resulting in bone erosion and joint deformity.
Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis may also cause joint problems and sometimes affect other organs of the body including the skin, eyes, lungs and blood vessels. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis focuses on controlling symptoms and preventing joint damage.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:
Rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects the joints and in more than 15–25% of individuals it also affects other organs of the body. As the disease progresses, symptoms spread to the knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. Some of the other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include the following:
- Fatigue, fever and weight loss
- Tender, warm, and swollen joints
- Morning stiffness
- Bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms
Symptoms become worse when the temperature drops. Researchers have been trying to find out about the relation between weather and rheumatoid arthritis. Various doctors around the world have described the association of weather and rheumatoid arthritis.Doctors have stated that weather affects different people differently. People with rheumatoid arthritis can feel the pressure in their joints, as the weather changes. There is a balloon around the joints that expands a little when air pressure is low. That is why researchers have predicted that winters have adverse effects on the joints.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis:
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but the goal of treatment for rheumatoid arthritisis to reduce joint inflammation and pain by maximizing the joint function. Steroids and immunosuppressant may be prescribed by your doctor to ease out your pain and stiffness. He/she will start the either through medications or therapies. In a case extreme temperature is the reason for rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor may suggest you to follow the below mentioned steps to ease your pain:
- Exercise- Exercise is best treatment procedure to treat the condition. Your doctor may recommend you to avoid high-impact activities, but engage in stretching and range of motion exercises.
- Sleep- A study conducted at UCLA found that an insufficient sleep triggers pain and mood in rheumatoid arthritis patients. To get rid of pain and changes in mood, try to have a full night’s rest to feel better each day.
- Warm up- Use a heating pad or a hot bath to control the pain.
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Effects of rheumatoid arthritis:
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition, but your doctor prescribes you the medications to ease out the pain symptoms. There may be complications involved in the treatment of the condition, as medications you take for rheumatoid arthritis can have unwanted effects. Some of the effects of rheumatoid arthritis include the following:
- Effects on the skin- One-fifth of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis develop lumps called rheumatoid nodules under the skin. Lumps may be on the elbows, forearms, heels, or fingers. These nodules can be the indications of more severe disease activity. Moreover, various types of skin changes due to the effects of medications may also be seen in rheumatoid arthritis patients. It’s very crucial to alert your doctor regarding any such condition.
- Emotional effects- Dealing all day with pain can take a toll on emotional as well as physical health of a person. A recent study has showed that 11% of people with the condition suffer from depression. So, it is important for you to have a close interaction with your doctor about the condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition, and it’s a fact that there is no cure for it. But, the solution is in your hands, how you can manage your symptoms. If your joints start to warn you of cold weather ahead, and then schedule a visit with your doctor. He/she will recommend you the best possible options to treat your condition.