Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is the natural breakdown of cartilage with age, RA is an autoimmune disease. That means that the person’s immune system attacks cartilage like it is a harmful pathogen, breaking down the joint and leading to the same pain and inflammation one can expect from osteoarthritis.
Joint damage from RA typically occurs symmetrically, meaning that if the left hand is affected, the right hand will be as well. The same goes for the knees, elbows, fingers and other joints in most cases.
While there is no cure for RA, there are several treatments that help manage the symptoms. These treatments work best when RA is detected early, so it is important to know its signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA often comes and goes in waves of flares and remission. The worst joint pain often occurs during the flares, while a person may be asymptomatic and otherwise healthy during remission. The most common symptoms of RA include:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Joint stiffness
- Decreased range of motion
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
The exact cause of RA is unknown, but there are certain risk factors associated with it. These include:
- Family history of RA
- History of viral infections
Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Treatments for RA include a combination of home remedies and medical interventions. Your doctor may prescribe any of the following to help control RA symptoms::
- Healthy diet and exercise
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
At ForCare Medical Center, we can help you manage your symptoms caused by rheumatoid arthritis and find relief today. Contact ForCare Medical Center today to schedule your appointment.