Dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis

by WriterArtist

Dealing with Rheumatoid arthritis can be extremely stressful. Coping with severe bouts of recurring joint pain can be nerve wrecking.

A very healthy and happy person, you are on your way to an advancing career, a promotion or a venture. One fine day you find that your fingers are swollen and that excruciating pain in your shoulders are horrifying. You also develop rashness and allergy which never occurred before.

Surprised at your condition, you visit a physician who thinks your pain symptoms are due to season, food or any other factor. Relieved you take those pain killers that temporarily put your pain off and you resume your life only to be awaken by frequent flares of pain that cannot be explained easily.

The information in this article throws light on rheumatoid disease; by no means, it is an alternative therapy. Consulting Rheumatologist for accurate diagnosis and treatment is advised.

Image from Pixabay - ClkerFreeVectorImages

© copyright WriterArtist 2015, all rights reserved

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Diagnostics of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Your doctor asks to carry out some blood tests to confirm your readings of ”Rheumatoid factor” and the suspicion that is hovering in your mind is about to clear. Your diagnosis is affirmative and the world turns bleak. Now this test for some people is not deterministic, many other symptoms need to be confirmed if the “rheumatoid factor” comes out to be negative, you still might be having rheumatoid arthritis.

Why is my body attacking me?

 

This metaphor indeed confuses, scares and produces guilt on the person. But believe me, it is no fault of yours that you have landed with RA. The body continuously produces cells that are patrolling and protecting the body, however; this soldier cells when overdo their job, they start hurting it.

The cells or antibodies in the immune system are the patrolling soldier cells functioning in response to some chemical signals from the body. They indeed cannot make the decision, it is the way the body controls and maintains it health. For some reason not known to science, they choose to cause the joint tissues disorders resulting in inflammation and pain.

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Immune System of Body

Interdependence with Hormones

 

In layman’s terms the immune system of body that has cells tuned in for protecting the body against external factors gets confused and is turned on to harming the body.

There is a noticeable increase in hormones, particularly; the reproductive hormones that might be related to the erratic behaviour of the body’s immune system. Women experience more severe and aggressive behaviour of RA compared to men.

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Root Cause of RA

 

The root cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. However; it is known that women are prone to RA more than men. The reason for this pattern and preference of RA has put many scientists and doctors a reason for research. Also, if you have someone in your family affected by RA, it is likely that you may also get it.

 

Though genes carry this disease, not everyone in the family encounters this disease. Stress, sedentary life style, smoking can trigger the RA symptoms. Contrary to the belief that ageing leads to arthritis, RA can attack its victim at any age. People under 30s and 40s are known to encounter RA.

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Books for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)

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The First Year: Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed

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A Resilient Life: Learning to thrive, not just survive with rheumatoid arthritis

Too often, people faced with a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis hear words like, "disabling," "progressive," or "tragic." "Tragic" may be what people are saying but the real...

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The Synovial Tissue and Joint Cartilage

 

The RA is a systemic inflammatory condition, usually chronic and progressive with the elapse of time. Painful flares manifests in joint cartilages mostly in fingers, wrists, knees, elbows and shoulders.

Often noticed by synovial proliferation and inflammation of peripheral joints, it manifests with the positive “Rheumatoid Factor”, inflammatory markers and anti CCP antibodies. In addition, ESR, CBC and CRP blood tests are also common and monitored regularly for patients affected by autoimmune diseases. In severe cases, presence of rheumatoid nodules may appear and disappear.

Who is likely to get Rheumatoid arthritis?

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Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

An early diagnosis and treatment can control the disease substantially. For appropriate action to be taken, an early detection is critical for RA patients.  In addition to rheumatologist, other specialists involvement may be required based on symptoms and extra articular manifestations.

The goal of treatment is to improve the quality of life of the patient and manage pain effectively so that the patient can carry out his/her activities with less hindrance. Though the after effects of this disease may lead to disability, the results vary significantly for individuals. In rare cases, patients have been observed and have improved.

Medication based therapy include antirheumatic drugs called DMARDs. Methotrexate is suggested as the first line of treatment and steroids for short term treatment.

Physiotherapy helps improve the inflammation and reduces the pain. Stress can alleviate the pain, yoga and physical exercises are a must for the patients.

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My Remedies for RA

Ever since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I have tried many therapies to cope with pain. I have arthritis gloves, socks and thermal pads to treat minor pain in my joints. I try to avoid taking pain killers, though it becomes very clear that they are indispensable when it comes to excruciating pain.

I also use thermal heating pad and hot water bags.

Best instrument to help reduce my pain is the ultrasound and IFT that is also used in physiotherapy. I have purchased these instruments. Though they appear costly - in long term they turn out to be much cheaper because I can do the therapy at home without worrying about the cost.

If you have a warm indoor pool, swimming is the best exercise that can provide the fitness to the entire body. However; you need to avoid contact with cold water.

I also do Yoga and Pranayama to relieve stress. Stress management is an important part of managing pain. I also walk regularly to keep my joints free from stiffness. 

I have Ayurvedic oil which relieves pain and stiffness from my fingers, wrist and knees. I daily use this oil to massage my back and shoulders too. I did not find this oil on Amazon.

Occasional flares are inevitable, but they can be managed better by protection from cold and weather changes.

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Updated: 07/10/2015, WriterArtist
 
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?
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How do you manage pain?


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Digby_Adams on 07/20/2015

My husband has psoriatic arthitis which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis. It is very painful sometimes.

candy47 on 07/11/2015

I don't have any pain to manage, thank goodness!! I attribute that to a healthy diet and daily exercise...for the past 35 years.

Mira on 07/10/2015

I didn't know what caused rheumatoid arthritis. It sounds terrible. I know someone who's struggling with it here too.

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