Arthritis: Factors Of Development

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 Arthritis is something that many of us have heard about. It is possible that we have linked arthritis to being something that comes with growing older. This is not necessarily true. There are different kinds of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis which are both painful. However, I will be focusing on rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the joints instead of attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. This affects the lining of the joints and causes painful swelling that can potentially result in bone erosion and joint deformity ( If the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is severe this can cause physical disabilities. In some people this condition can damage body systems like skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels ( It is important to be able to identify rheumatoid arthritis and its symptoms. This can help alleviate the pain from this condition. In this paper I will be discussing how it is diagnosed and what the treatment options available for this condition are. There are people who are more at risk to this condition like women and the elderly. Finally, although this condition is not curable, there are ways to be able to help prevent it.

As previously stated, it is important to be able to identify what are the symptoms to be able to get the right treatment. Some of the symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis are stiffness, swelling, pain, and redness and warmth around the joints ( It is very common for someone with this type of arthritis to experience joint stiffness in the morning. Although, this is common with other types of arthritis as well, someone with rheumatoid arthritis can take more time before they feel their joints loose again. Another symptom to look for is inflammation that causes pain inside a joint whether you are moving it or not. The inflammation is what will cause damage and pain to the joint. Finally, if joints are warm and start changing color this could be an indication of rheumatoid arthritis. It is more common to start off in the hands but can affect any joint like elbows, hips, and knees. This will often show up in a symmetrical patterns and it is common to feel pain on both sides of the body ( About 40 percent of people who have rheumatoid disease will also experience pain in nonjoint structures such as skin, eyes, lungs, kidneys, etc. (

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Unfortunately there is not one single test that can diagnose or confirm rheumatoid arthritis. In order to diagnose and confirm rheumatoid arthritis it is necessary for the doctor to ask questions about personal and family medical history, perform a physical exam and order a diagnostic test. When performing a physical exam, the doctor will look for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and painful joint movement. Also if the pattern of joints affected is symmetrical this could be a sign for rheumatoid arthritis. It is necessary to perform a blood test to be able to measure inflammation levels. Doctors will also look for Antibodies. “Rheumatoid factor is an antibody found in about 80 percent of people with RA during the course of their disease” ( Another antibody, anti-CCP, is found primarily in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The last test that needs to be done in order to diagnose RA is an imaging test. This will show if joint damage has occurred. However, it is possible to have RA even if there is no joint damage ( In order to treat this condition, doctors will often use early aggressive treatment, target remission, and use tight control to keep disease activity to a low level. Physical therapy and acupuncture can also help alleviate the pain. Another way to treat this condition is with drugs. Some of these drugs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which help ease the symptoms. There are also drugs to slow disease activity like, Corticosteroid medications, DMARDs, Biologics, and JAK inhibitors. For more severe cases, where daily function might be impaired surgery is also an option (

As previously stated, there are people who are more at risk of rheumatoid arthritis. The sex of a person makes someone more at risk. Women are more likely than men to develop this condition. Age also plays a role. Although it can happen at any age, it is more common to begin during middle age. If someone in the family has rheumatoid arthritis, they may be more at risk of the disease. Smoking can also play a factor, especially if the person already had a genetic predisposition for developing the disease. Smoking can also impact the severity of the disease. Other factors that can make someone at risk is their environmental factors as well as their weight. Women who are 55 years of age and younger are at a higher risk ( As mentioned before, it is important to be able to identify the symptoms and get treated early on to prevent getting damage to the joints. This can be done by a doctor at the beginning stages, but it is best to see a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in arthritis. If it is possible, it would be ideal to be seen by a rheumatologist. This would help identify exactly what the problem is. However if it is not possible to have a rheumatologist treat everything, then it can be taken care of by your primary doctor with occasional visits with a rheumatologist (

Unfortunately, true prevention for this condition is impossible. However, there are certain things someone can do to be less at risk. This includes maintaining joint mobility, a healthy weight, and not smoking. Maintaining a healthy diet with omega-3 fatty acids can also help inflammation ( It is important to identify the symptoms early on, because this will help get the correct treatment. With rheumatoid arthritis affecting large amounts of people, doctors continue to study rheumatoid arthritis and hope to find a cure in the future. 


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