Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. The condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. It can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs. This disease mainly attacks the joint and usually many joints at once. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance), and deformity (misshapenness). With RA, there are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remission. Signs and symptoms of RA include:
- Pain or aching in more than one joint
- Stiffness in more than one joint
- Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint
- The same symptoms on both sides of the body (such as in both hands or both knees)
- Weight loss
- Fatigue or tiredness
CHARACTERISTICS THAT INCREASE RISK OF RA
- Genetics/inherited traits
- History of live births
- Early Life Exposures
COMPLICATIONS OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has many physical and social consequences and can lower quality of life. These are few complications of RA:-
- Premature heart disease. People with RA are also at a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. To prevent people with RA from developing heart disease, treatment of RA also focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors.
- People with RA who are obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being obese also increases risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
- RA makes the work become so difficult. Adults with RA are less likely to be employed than those who do not have RA. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they cannot do as much as they used to. Work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding.
HOW TO OVERCOME RA?
RA affects many aspects of daily living including work, leisure and social activities. Fortunately, there are multiple low-cost strategies in the community that are proven to increase quality of life.
- Get physically active. Experts recommend that ideally adults be moderately physically active for 150 minutes per week, like walking, swimming, or biking 30 minutes a day for five days a week. You can break these 30 minutes into three separate ten-minute sessions during the day. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and depression
- Go to effective physical activity programs. If you are worried about making arthritis worse or unsure how to safely exercise, participation in physical activity programs can help reduce pain and disability related to RA and improve mood and the ability to move.
- Join a self-management education class. Participants with arthritis and including RA gain confidence in learning how to control their symptoms, how to live well with arthritis, and how arthritis affects their lives.
- Stop Smoking. Cigarette smoking makes the disease worse and can cause other medical problems. Smoking can also make it more difficult to stay physically active, which is an important part of managing RA.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. Obesity can cause numerous problems for people with RA and so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.