Rheumatoid Arthritis – At a Glance
Table of Content
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
RA is a disease of the immune system
Immune system - Body's defense against foreign bodies. It is made up of special cells (White Blood Cells/ WBCs) that defend the body against infectious foreign materials.
Antigen (Ag) - An antigen is any foreign body, e.g., bacteria, virus, that harms your body
Antibody (Ab) - Antibodies (immunoglobulins), are proteins found in body that neutralize the foreign bodies /Ag
Antigen - Antibody complex - When this complex is formed, the Ag is neutralized.
Autoimmune diseases - (Auto = Self; immunity) Body's defense system considers body's own cells as foreign & attacks them.
RA is an autoimmune disease
The immune cells attack the joints, causing pain & inflammation.
Inflammation- A response of body tissues to injury or irritation. The 5 symptoms of inflammation are:
- Loss of function in the injured area
- Chronic (of long duration)
- Symmetrical (joints on both sides of the body are affected)
- Systemic (affects other organs)
- Inflammatory disease affecting the joints
RA is generally seen in small joints, e.g., hands, feet but then progresses to larger joints like knee, elbow, shoulder.
Symptoms include -
- Morning stiffness in & around the joint
- Loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Rheumatoid nodules - Small bumps under the skin, usually not painful
NSAIDs - Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs: Relieve pain & inflammation, e.g. ibuprofen, celecoxib
DMARDs - Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs: Slow down the disease process of RA, provide relieve of symptoms.
Kindly consult your doctor before taking any medications
- Exercise regularly
- Weight control
- Healthy diet
- Apply heat or cold for occasional flare up
- Regular medications