Join our Facebook giveaway to earn a shot at Nashville SC tickets! 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA in the Hand

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects more than just your joints. This chronic inflammatory disease can also affect your skin, eyes, lungs, and other systems by attacking your own body’s tissues. Unlike other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints which can cause bone erosion and deformity.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Like many autoimmune diseases, doctors aren’t sure of the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis. Instead of your immune system fighting back, it actively works against you. Genetics seems to play a part but is not the exact cause of developing the disease. Genes can simply make you more likely to react to things that may trigger the disease.

What are the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Your symptoms will depend on the stage of arthritis you are in. Early symptoms include pain and tenderness in the joints, but redness and swelling are also seen in patients.

Other symptoms include:

What Are Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

  1. Stiffness in the joints lasting longer than 30 minutes
  2. Fatigue- feeling tired without an explanation along with other symptoms
  3. Overall swelling- swollen hands or feet can be associated with RA
  4. Loss of function- this typically only happens when RA is left untreated. If your joint no longer functions, the cause could be RA. Therefore, it is highly important to speak with an orthopedic surgeon before a loss of function occurs.

Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Go Away?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, however, it can go into remission. The bright side is new treatments are being formed every day and some people are able to live with RA with little to no symptoms if they make the correct lifestyle changes and are on the correct treatment plan with their doctor.

 

What Helps Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Certain lifestyle changes could help your RA symptoms. Stress has been seen to cause RA to worsen, so trying to live a stress-free life is important. Practicing yoga, meditation, and consulting a therapist is a great way to help manage your stress and get your symptoms under control. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise plan are also lifestyle changes that can be made to help with symptoms of RA.

What are Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents (NSAIDs)

These medications help treat acute inflammation in the body which helps decrease pain. This helps in the short term but is not a long-term solution for RA.

Cortisone Shots

Cortisone is a steroid that mimics the hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisone injections help reduce inflammation and pain in the joint.

Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDS)

DMARDS are the only drugs shown to improve symptoms of RA and change the course of the disease. They slowly “modify” the disease by suppressing your body’s immune and inflammatory response.

Author
Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassie-whittaker-802a3b173

You Might Also Enjoy...

Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Doctor vs. Podiatrist

When you have a problem with your foot or ankle that requires medical attention, who do you see for treatment — an orthopedist or a podiatrist? Many people think a podiatrist is the same as an orthopedist, but there are several significant differences betw

What Is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Orthopedic surgeons treat conditions in the knee, shoulder, elbow, back, hand, foot, and more. Learn more about orthopedic surgery and how you can find the best doctor near you. Elite has 12 highly skilled orthopedic surgeons in Nashville, TN.

The Back Doctor - What You Should Know

Do you need to see a back doctor in Nashville, TN? Our team of fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons include some of the best spine specialists near you. Learn about symptoms and prevention of back pain and back conditions.

The Hand Doctor - What You Should Know

Do you need to see a hand doctor in Nashville, TN? Our award-winning orthopedic surgeons include some of the best hand specialists near you. Check out this guide to see if you could live a lower pain lifestyle.

5 Things Every Athlete Should Know

As an athlete, a healthy body is the key to success within your sport. It is important to know how to prevent injuries and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle that supports the physical demands your sport requires.

Why Do My Shins Hurt When Running?

Have you recently taken up running? You may find yourself grabbing for your lower leg or unable to continue. This may be due to shin splints, one of the most common injuries in runners.