Detailed Information on Rheumatoid Arthritis

By: Juliet Cohen

RA is the most common type of arthritis triggered by the immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that causes joint pain and damage. It affecting more than two million people in the United States. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lining of your joints (synovium) causing swelling that can result in aching and throbbing and eventually deformity. Sometimes rheumatoid arthritis symptoms make even the simplest activities - such as opening a jar or taking a walk - difficult to manage. Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than in men and generally occurs between the ages of 40 and 60. But rheumatoid arthritis can also affect young children and older adults. It is commonly polyarticular; that is, it affects many joints.

About seventy-five percent of those affected are women, and 1-3% of women may develop rheumatoid arthritis is their lifetime. The disease most often begins between the fourth and sixth decades of life; however, RA can develop at any age. RA usually affects joints on both sides of the body equally. Wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles are the most commonly affected.Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than in men and generally occurs between the ages of 40 and 60. But rheumatoid arthritis can also affect young children and older adults. Inflammation, soft tissue swelling, and the involvement of multiple joints are common signs and symptoms that distinguish rheumatoid and other inflammatory arthritis from non-inflammatory arthritis such as osteoarthritis.

The joints are usually affected initially asymmetrically and then in a symmetrical fashion as the disease progresses. The pain generally ameliorate with use of the affected joints, and there is usually stiffness of all joints in the morning that lasts over one hour. Treatments include medicine, lifestyle changes and surgery. These can slow or stop joint damage and reduce pain and swelling. To quickly reduce joint inflammation and symptoms, first-line treatment usually consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin and others), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex) and many others. Regular exercise is important for maintaining joint mobility and making the joint muscles stronger. Swimming is especially good.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment and Prevention Tips

1. Swimming is especially good.

2. Regular exercise is important for maintaining joint mobility.

3. Surgeries can relieve joint pain, correct deformities, and modestly improve joint function.

4. Heat and cold applications are modalities that can ease symptoms before and after exercise.

5. Apply electrical stimulation to reduce pain and improve joint mobility.

6. Corticosteroids medications have been used to reduce inflammation in RA for more than 40 years.

Rheumatology
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Rheumatology