What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis And How To Manage It?

elder lady massaging rheumatoid arthritis in her wristRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune issue. It occurs in the joints on every side of your body, which differentiates it from other forms of arthritis. You might experience symptoms of inflammation and pain in your Fingers, Wrist, Hands, Ankles, Knees, Feet, and Toes.

Uncontrolled inflammation destroys cartilage, which primarily plays the role of a “shock absorber” in the joints. Over time, this may deform your joints. Sooner or later, your actual bone erodes. It can result in the fusion of your joints (this is your body’s effort to protect itself from continuous irritation).

Specific cells in our immune systems (our bodies’ infection-fighting system) help with this process. Although such substances are secreted in your joints, they also circulate and cause various symptoms throughout your body. Rheumatoid arthritis affects your joints, but it may also affect other parts of your body.

More than 1.3 million people are affected by rheumatoid arthritis in the United States alone.

What Is the Age of Onset?

In most cases, rheumatoid arthritis develops between 30 and 60 years. However, anyone can get it. In kids and young adults — often between 16 and 40 years— it’s known as young-onset rheumatoid arthritis (YORA). In patients who get symptoms after 60 years, it’s referred to as later-onset rheumatoid arthritis (LORA).

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

It affects people differently. Joint symptoms may develop over a few years in some patients. While in other patients, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms continue rapidly. Most people have flares (time with symptoms) and then remission (time with no symptoms).

The following are common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:

  • pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness in multiple joints.
  • Stiffness, particularly in the morning or after prolonged sitting.
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness).
  • stiffness and pain in the same joints on every side of your body.
  • Fever.
  • Weakness.

Does It Cause Fatigue?

Each patient’s situation is a bit different—however, many people with rheumatoid arthritis claim that this is one of the worst symptoms.

It can be exhausting to live with chronic pain. It can also make it more challenging to manage your pain. You must pay attention to your body and ensure that you take breaks before you become exhausted.

What Are Flare Symptoms?

In general, the symptoms don’t differ much from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. That said, patients usually have ups and downs. The term “flare” refers to a period when you have severe symptoms after improving for some time. You will likely have periods when you feel better. Changes in weather, infections, or certain foods may also trigger it.

You can’t avoid flares altogether, but there are measures you could take to help you cope with them. It may help to note down your daily symptoms in a journal and what’s happening in your life. Give your journal to a rheumatologist, who might assist you in identifying triggers. You can then work to manage such triggers.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The real cause is still unclear. Scientists believe that it’s caused by hormones, genetics, and environmental factors.

Your immune system typically safeguards your body. Something sets off your immune system to affect your joints. An infection, emotional and physical stress, or smoking could be triggering it.

Is It Genetic?

People with human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes variations since birth are highly likely to develop it. HLA genes also assist your immune system in identifying the difference between proteins your system produces and proteins from invaders such as bacteria and viruses.

Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for developing rheumatoid arthritis, including:

  • Sex. Women are usually 2-3 times more likely to acquire rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Family history.
  • Obesity.
  • Smoking. Smoking enhances a person’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Testing for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Usually, your healthcare provider might refer you to a physician who deals with arthritis (rheumatologist). They will carry out a physical exam and inquire about your symptoms and medical history. Your rheumatologist will request blood tests, as well as imaging tests.

These blood tests look for blood proteins (antibodies) and inflammation. They might include:

  • C-reactive protein (CRP).
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) confirms inflammation in the joints.
  • Around 60%-70% of rheumatoid arthritis patients have antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides.
  • Around 80% test positive for rheumatoid factor (RF).

Your rheumatologist might request imaging tests. Rheumatoid arthritis may cause the bones’ ends within your joints to erode. The tests might include:

  • Ultrasounds.
  • X-rays.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Your provider might watch how you respond over time before making a conclusive assessment.

Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is a set of symptoms, signs, and test results that your provider looks out for before informing you that you’ve acquired rheumatoid arthritis and based on several years of clinical practice and research. Some patients do not have all the criteria. Nevertheless, the general determination includes:

  • Inflammation in relatively more minor joints.
  • Inflammation in multiple large joints (elbows, shoulders, hips, ankles, and knees).
  • Positive biomarker tests such as CCP antibodies or rheumatoid factor (RF).
  • Your symptoms have lasted 6+ weeks.
  • Increased CRP levels or an increased sed rate.

The Significance of BioScan

Bioresonance is a form of therapy used in complementary and holistic medicine. It’s a therapeutic tool and assessment applied by practitioners to determine those items bringing stress to the body (stressors).

BioScan emits frequencies and records your body’s responses. There are thousands of frequencies (stressors) in the BioScan proprietary database.

Any reading that falls out of parameters signifies that the representative substance might be causing undue stress and contributing to symptoms and health complications presently being encountered.

The BioScan System also provides the practitioner and patient with a report of findings showing:

– The substances and groups established

– The level of seriousness for each item

– If it is acute or chronic

Personal timetables to obtain symptomatic relief will differ depending on the individual’s seriousness of conditions and overall health state. Most patients recognize an increase in their health quality after their first or second visit.

Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

The most crucial goal for addressing rheumatoid arthritis is to minimize joint pain and inflammation. Doing this should help improve or maintain joint operation. And the long-term goal is to slow down or stop joint damage. Managing joint inflammation minimizes your pain and boosts your life quality.

Generally, joint damage happens within the initial two years of detection. Because of this, you must see your provider once you notice symptoms. If you address it during this “window of opportunity”, it will help prevent long-term consequences.

When identifying a protocol, a healthcare provider generally considers health, history, age, and how severe the symptoms are.

Does Diet Play Any Role?

When combined with the medications and other modalities that your provider advises, changes in diet might help lower inflammation and other symptoms. You could speak with your health practitioner about incorporating good fats and reducing bad fats, processed carbohydrates, and salt. Such dietary changes are most successful and safer when monitored for side effects by a rheumatologist.

That said, specific lifestyle changes you could make might help alleviate symptoms. A rheumatologist may suggest weight loss to minimize the strain on inflamed joints.

Patients also have an increased risk of developing coronary artery issues. A risk factor like high blood cholesterol can respond to diet changes. A nutritionist may consider foods to consume or avoid achieving a desirable cholesterol level.

When Can You Use Surgery?

Surgery might be an excellent choice to restore function to seriously damaged joints. Your health provider might suggest surgery if your pain is not managed with medication. Some surgeries include:

  • Hip replacement.
  • Knee replacement.
  • Other surgeries to fix a deformity.

There are numerous effective methods for reducing inflammation and pain and slowing down the process. It’s crucial to have early detection.

Lifestyle Changes

Having rheumatoid arthritis might make you feel like you don’t have enough control over your life quality. Although there are aspects that you cannot control, there are certain things you can do.

– Rest

If your joints are inflamed, injury to your joints and neighboring soft tissue structures (e.g., ligaments and tendons) is high. That’s why you must rest your inflamed joints. With that said, you must exercise. Overall health related fitness and maintaining a broad range of motion in the joints are vital in coping with rheumatoid arthritis.

– Exercise

Stiffness and pain can certainly slow you down. Some patients tend to become inactive. Nonetheless, inactivity can result in loss of muscle strength and joint motion. As a result, these reduce joint stability and enhance pain.

Regular exercise may help prevent and reverse such effects. You may need to start by visiting an occupational or physical therapist for advice about ways to exercise safely. Helpful workouts include:

  • Exercises to boost strength.
  • Range-of-motion exercises to maintain and restore joint motion.
  • Exercises to enhance endurance (walking, cycling, and swimming).

Final Thoughts

If your patient has acquired rheumatoid arthritis, it might seem like they are on a long-lasting roller coaster of pain. It would be best to share such feelings and your signs/symptoms with them. Together with blood tests and X-rays, whatever you say about your patient’s life quality will help to establish a protocol. You will evaluate the symptoms and advise the most suitable plan for their specific needs.

 

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