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Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease whose symptoms include chronic inflammation or swelling of the joints. In the long term, it can lead to joint damage, joint pain, stiffness and problems with mobility. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease. That means that it may never go away. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it is also a systemic disease which means that Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect other systems or organs in your body. It is a very serious disease which needs early diagnosis and treatment in order to help you continue living as normally as possible.

The cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is still unknown. What is known is that people with this disease have an abnormal immune system. People with Rheumatoid Arthritis have immune systems that think that healthy joint tissue is a foreign body and the personís own immune system attacks the joint. It is still a disease that has no cure. Rheumatoid Arthritis is treated in ways designed to preserve mobility and reduce pain and inflammation. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis usually starts affecting the smaller joints in the hands and wrists. As the disease progresses, larger joints are affected. It is a symmetrical disease. If a joint in the right hand is affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis, then the same joint on the left hand will be affected. As the disease progresses in the joint, the cartilage, tendons and even bone may be affected. This can cause permanent deformity and instability in the affected joint.

A small percentage of the population is affected by this disease. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 70% of the victims of the disease are women who first experience symptoms between the ages of 30 to 50 years. Although not common, this disease can also occur in children affecting girls more often than boys.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Treatment takes into account the severity of the arthritis, current mobility, pain levels and swelling, your personal lifestyle and other factors. Treatments will be adjusted during the course of your disease to best preserve your lifestyle and mobility. Your treatment may include a combination of anti-inflammatory medications, pain killers, anti-rheumatic drugs, and immune system drugs. Treatment may also include physical and occupational therapy to help you preserve joint mobility. Surgical intervention may be needed when joint damage is severe.

It is important to detect and start treating this disease in its early stages. Aggressive and early treatment can preserve your joints and minimize the impact of the disease. Today, there are many more alternative treatment options available. Combinations of drugs can also be used to help in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.


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