A Brief Look at Arthritis.Arthritis is also a leading cause of disability. Nearly 7 million people in the United States, 20% of whom are arthritis sufferers, are unable to perform major life activities such as working or cleaning the house because of the disease.
People with arthritis endure more severe pain for more days, live more days with limited ability to perform daily activities, and have a harder time performing self-care routines than people without arthritis. . As with other chronic pain conditions, arthritis has a negative effect on mental health. Some forms of arthritis also age your Real Age.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Definition
Rheumatoid arthritis, known as Still’s disease when it affects children, is a condition that causes joint inflammation and accompanying pain, swelling, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the body’s immune system to attack joint tissue, breaking down collagen, cartilage, and sometimes bone or other organs.
This chronic condition varies from person to person and fluctuates over time, often marked by symptoms that only subside and reappear later. In some cases, rheumatoid arthritis is mild and lasts only a few months (this type of rheumatoid arthritis is called type 1), while in others it is gradually complicated by disability and problems. other health problems, for many years (this is called type 2 rheumatoid arthritis). arthritis).
Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the joints of the wrist and fingers closest to the hand, but can also affect the joints of the feet and the entire body. Anyone can be affected by rheumatoid arthritis, but women are more likely to develop symptoms, which usually begin between the ages of 20 and 30.
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. is well understood, but many effective strategies have been developed to manage its symptoms. .
Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The main symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is morning stiffness, usually in the hands or feet. Tightness that lasts for an hour or more, or swelling and pain that lasts for more than six weeks, could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Joint discomfort is often symmetrical, meaning both hands will be sore or stiff, not just one. A Brief Look at Arthritis.Early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may also include fever, extreme fatigue, or pea-sized masses called “nodules” that can be felt under the skin.
Other possible symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include anemia, loss of appetite, and fluid accumulation in the ankles or behind the knees. In children, symptoms may include chills and a pink rash that may be accompanied by characteristically painful and swollen joints.
Why rheumatoid arthritis hurts
The relationship between joint pain and cartilage destruction is not fully understood. Cartilage itself does not cause pain because there are no nerve structures in the cartilage to transmit pain signals. Most likely, the pain of rheumatoid arthritis is caused by irritation of other tissues in and around the affected joints.
This irritation may be due to chemical messengers, such as prostaglandin E2, which are involved in the disease process. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) relieve pain because they inhibit prostaglandin production.
Other conditions that can cause pain
Pain and stiffness similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by many other conditions. While injury or infection can be ruled out, everything from bunion to fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome can cause pain.
Only a medical professional can identify multiple sources of joint pain, as similar symptoms can be caused by other autoimmune diseases, serious illnesses such as cancer, or many other types of arthritis.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not fully understood, but important contributing factors have been identified. The self-destructive immune response in rheumatoid arthritis may be due to a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers. A Brief Look at Arthritis.Hormonal changes may also play an important role in disease, perhaps in response to an environmental infection.
More than one gene is associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Specific genes can increase a person’s chance of developing the disease and may also partly determine the severity of their condition. However, since not everyone with a genetic predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis actually develops the disease, other factors must be important.
A specific environmental cause has not been found, but some studies suggest that viral or bacterial infections lead to rheumatoid arthritis in people with a genetic predisposition. This does not mean that rheumatoid arthritis is contagious. People with rheumatoid arthritis seem to have more antibodies in the synovial fluid in their joints, indicating a possible infection.
Low levels of adrenal hormones are common in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but how the hormone interacts with environmental and genetic factors is unknown. Hormonal changes can contribute to the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.