Rheumatoid Arthritis- Not an Easy Deal!

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Imagine waking up to stiff joints, or waiting for the agonising pain in your knees to subside, without having even a whit of idea about how long the dreadful episode would last. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an atrocious disorder primarily targeting the joints, both major and minor. Any joint can get involved, right from knees to wrists. RA does not even spare vital organs or tissues like eyes, heart, lungs and blood. In a nutshell, major body functions are greatly hindered and life no more remains the same once you are stuck with RA.

As they say, there is no stable cure to this harrowing condition. Thankfully due to the heights scaled in Medicine and various immune modulators and analgesics, dealing with the difficulty of RA has become simpler.


1. What goes wrong?

The origin of this illness is an autoimmune degeneration of joints, wherein antibodies are formed against joint structures; the formed antibodies devour joints by depleting the essential joint fluid which permits easy sliding of bones. It is both the genetic and the environmental factors which intermingle to cause RA to pick up pace.


2. What are the effects?

The depleted joint fluid makes the movement of joint extremely difficult. The antigen antibody reaction makes the joint red, painful and swollen. Often there are calcified nodules formed in the joints, especially in the small ones (digits) which inhibit movement beyond certain degree. There might be a continuous low grade fever. Morning stiffness is a typical feature, which can be manifested in one to all of the joints. Fatigue is common because of the associated muscle wasting. A lot of times joints can be damaged permanently!


3. What makes life easier with RA?

To begin with, a consult from a Rheumatologist, appropriate medications in RA is a must. The treatment regimes include steroids, immune suppressants, analgesics, Calcium and Iron supplements. Do not try and be your own doctor to earn spurs, because RA is a lot different than common cold or fever.

Yoga, exercise and physiotherapy are great aids in alleviating the pain and protecting joints from extreme damage by strengthening muscles.  


4. Any diet tips?

Foods to avoid: meat, dairy products, processed and foods, corn oil. Smoking is a BIG no; alcohol is allowed in moderation.

Foods to take: antioxidants, vegetarian diet, especially colored fruits and vegetables, olive oil, Omega 3 fatty acids.


5. Does every RA patient have to undergo joint replacement?

No. Joint replacement is the last resort. The first line of treatment will be medicinal along with, physiotherapy, followed by intralesional injections of steroids.


Do not let RA make you believe that your life has come to a halt. Strive to improve the quality of your life by adopting to appropriate life style alterations.


TAGGED IN : Bone and Joints Rheumatoid Arthritis Joint Pain Joint Stiffness Arthralgia

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