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Rheumatic Arthritis

Rheumatic Arthritis affects about 24.5 million people as of 2015. About 1% newly develops the condition each year. Onset is most frequent during middle age and women are affected 2.5 times as frequently as men. Rheumatic arthritis is an auto immune which affects small joints mainly and causes inflammation, pain and swelling etc. It’s a lifelong condition, women are affecting more. Ii’s a matter of concern that the disease can damage to the joint and create deformity.

Causes

The following can play a part in why someone has rheumatoid arthritis:

Age

Rheumatoid arthritis affects people between, the ages of 40 and 60.Most people with rheumatoid arthritis are of working age when they are first diagnosed.

Sex

Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common among women than men.

Genetics

Rheumatoid arthritis develops because of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as smoking and diet.

Weight

Overweight is a significantly cause of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Smoking

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Diet

There is some evidence that if you eat a lot of red meat and don’t consume much vitamin C, you may have an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. High sodium red and iron consumption; low vitamin D intake and levels increase risk of RA

Clinical Signs

The main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are:

  • joint pain
  • joint swelling, warmth and redness
  • Morning stiffness
  • Fatigueness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Feverish
  • Dry eyes
  • Chest Pain

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in the body, although it is often felt in the small joints in the hands and feet first. Both sides of the body are usually affected at the same time.

A few people develop fleshy lumps called rheumatoid nodules, which form under the skin around affected joints. They can sometimes be painful, but usually are not.

Diagnosis

Blood tests: The blood tests look for inflammation and blood proteins (antibodies) that are linked to RA:

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)

A high ESR or CRP combined with other clues to RA helps make the diagnosis.

  • Rheumatoid factor (RF) is an antibody found (eventually) in about 80 percent of people with RA. Antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) are found in 60 to 70 percent of people with RA. However, they are also found in people without RA.

Imaging tests: RA can cause the ends of the bones within a joint to wear down (erosions). An imaging test is done to find out erosions.

  1. X-ray
  2.  ultrasound
  3. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Imaging results can also show how well treatment is working

Treatment

There are three main ways to treat

rheumatoid arthritis:

  • drugs
  • physical therapies
  • surgery

Drugs

There are four main groups of drugs that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These are:

Physical therapies

Treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis mainly depends on sign and symptoms. Physiotherapy helps to minimise the sign and symptoms and prevent deformity.

For pain relieving, electrical stimulation, cryotherapy is helpful

To reduce joint stiffness, wax therapy, range of movement exercise, gentle mobilization technique can apply

To maintain muscle strength and prevent deformity strengthening exercise strengthening exercise is helpful

 Flare-up is a common sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

When your symptoms get worse, this is known as a flare-up. These can happen at any time, but can happen after you have been stressed or had an infection.

Over time, you may get better at noticing the early signs of a flare-up.

If you’re having regular flare-ups, you should mention this to your doctor. It may be that you need to review your treatment.

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself during a flare-up:

  • Keep taking your medication at the doses you’ve been prescribed.
  • Do gentle exercises.
  • Put cold items on the joint

Surgery

Generally people with RA never have surgery but—like people with osteoarthritis—people with rheumatoid arthritis may elect to have surgery to reduce deformity and improve everyday function. The most common surgeries are joint replacement, arthrodesis and synovectomy

Although there’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, early treatment can reduce the risk of joint damage and limit the impact of the condition. So people with rheumatoid arthritis need to consult as soon as possible and take proper treatment to lead a happy healthy life.

Dr. Rebeka Sultana

Senior Physiotherapist, Mayfair Wellness Clinic

Rebeka is a Registered Physiotherapist with degrees from BPT, Faculty of Medicine, DU (NITOR),Pediatric physiotherapy(BCCW), Tapping in Orthopaedic and Sports injury, Physiotherapy and corporate Health. She has worked in a variety of settings, encompassing Orthopaedics, Neurology,Pediatrics, Geriatric,Sports and Gynaecology Physiotherapy through Mayfair Wellness Clinic.

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2020-11-21T10:58:00+00:00

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