All the things you need to know about rheumatoid arthritis

June 27th, 2016 by LOC Team

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. This means that your immune system, the part of your body that protects you from getting ill, starts attacking the cells surrounding your joints. This action makes your joints stiff, swollen and painful. The most common parts of the body that rheumatoid arthritis affects are the feet, hands and wrists, however, it can also affect other body parts.

Your condition can flare up and get worse in some periods. These periods of flaring up can be very hard to predict, but receiving the correct treatment for the condition, can help keep these flare ups down to a minimum and stop long-term changes to the joints.

Who is affected by the condition?

Although rheumatoid arthritis can affect an adult of any age, it is most common for it to start between the ages of 40 and 50. it is also three times more common in females than males. There are over 400,000 people in the UK that are affected by the condition.

What can cause rheumatoid arthritis?

Just like many other conditions, it isn’t always clear what can cause or trigger rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is known that there is an increased risk if you have a family history of the condition, if you are a woman or if you smoke.

How is the condition treated?

Just like other forms of arthritis, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and so rather than treating the condition, doctors treat the symptoms. An early diagnosis can really help alleviate the pain and symptoms from flaring up. Many people who get an early diagnosis and the right treatment can go months or even years without the condition flaring up. Many people can still lead a completely normal life and continue to work and do the things that make them happy.

Some of the most common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis are:

  • Supportive treatments – this includes occupational therapy and physiotherapy and can help you to keep active. It can also help you find ways around issues that you might be having with daily tasks.
  • Medication – this is taken long term and can help relieve the symptoms of the conditions and slow down the progress of it.
  • Surgery – this can help correct any joint problems that may have developed.

When should you seek medical advice?

If you believe that you have the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis then you should make an appointment with your GP as quickly as you can. Diagnosing the condition as quickly as possible allows the treatment to help stop the condition getting any worse. Going to your GP as soon as possible means that they can investigate and identify the underlying causes of your issues and help you get a plan in place for treatment.

We hope that you have found this article about rheumatoid arthritis helpful. If you did, please share it with your friends to help them as well. Also, please explore our website further for more information about common conditions that may explain your symptoms.