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•Swelling in joints
•Pain in joints and soreness, especially with movement
•Pain after overuse or after long periods of inactivity
•Stiffness after periods of rest
•Bony enlargements in the middle and end joints of the fingers (which may or may not be painful
Medication for RA
While the disease is in initial stages, medications prescribed are for pain relief and reducing inflammation and also with least side effects. As the disease progresses, stronger medications may are required for managing the disease.
Non Steroidal anti inflammatory drugs for eg Advil will give pain relief but will not slow down the progression of the disease. When taken over a long period complications would include gastric ulcers, blood pressure, kidney, liver damage and heart problems
Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
In response to a question raised on what's RA and for the benefit of those who may have skipped some of our posts, RA stands for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Treatment is aimed at reducing inflammation to the joints, relieving pain, minimizing any disability caused by pain, joint damage or deformity, and either slowing down or preventing damage to the joints. Currently there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment improves quality of life dramatically and also helps in preventing deformity by controlling and managing the disease.
Causes of RA-
RA is an autoimmune disease which develops when the body tissues are attacked by the immune system. Our body's immune system is designed to seek out and destroy bacteria and viruses. In an autoimmune disease the patient has unusual antibodies in their own blood that attack their own (good) body tissues.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system sends antibodies to attack the lining of the joints (the synovium).
When the immune system attacks the synovium, RA may occur. Antibodies attack the synovium, leaving it sore and inflamed - the synovium becomes thicker and may eventually invade and destroy cartilage (the stretchy connective tissue between bones) and bone inside the joint. The joint is held together by tendons (tissue that connects bone to muscle) and ligaments (tissue that connects bone and cartilage). These tendons and ligaments weaken and stretch, and the joint eventually loses its shape and configuration. The joint may eventually be completely destroyed.
Effect of RA on Skin
■Nodular lesions - A few patients develop lumps under the skin called rheumatoid nodules, normally these nodules arenot painful. They tend to occur on the skin over the elbows and forearms
Do eyes get affected by RA
■Inflammation of the tough white outer coat over the eyeball (sclera) affects about 5% of patients. Symptoms may include red, painful and possibly dry eyes.
■Inflammation of the tear glands
RA - is it just joints ?
RA affects multiple organs in the body besides joints.
■Inflammation in the lungs - Normally the patient has no symptoms. Incase of shortness of breath medications may be prescribed to reduce lung inflammation.
■Inflammation of pleura, the membrane around the lungs
■Inflammation of the pericardium - a double-walled sac that contains the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels
RA , consistent or intermittent
RA symptoms are often sporadic in nature. Sometimes the symptoms become severe during a flare up. Flare ups tend to be more painful in the morning and ease up as the day progresses.
RA- Few other symptoms
■ Low Grade Fever (37° - 38°C; 99° - 100°F).