What is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease. It’s an autoimmune infection, which means that the body immune system fails to recognize the body tissues as its own. It’s a multi-systemic disease that affects many systems, which includes the

  • Joint(musculoskeletal) system
  • Renal system
  • Cardiac system
  • Circulatory (blood vessels) systems and even the
  • Eyes system
  • Nervous system
  • Salivary glands
  • Pulmonary system

This leads to inflammation in all these systems and manifests in different ways. In the joints; it leads to the inflammation of the synovium. This leads to the redness and pain in the joints. Also, the patient experiences difficulty in moving the various joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is more predominant in females than in males. Up to 75% of cases of rheumatoid arthritis occurs in women. It occurs in women between the range of 28 to 50 years of age. It shares some similarities with osteoarthritis.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid is an idiopathic disease. It’s idiopathic. In this scenario, the body immune system attacks the body tissues due to some genetic errors. In joints, the body immune system attacks the synovium of the joints, which leads to inflammation.

acute pain in the knee

However, there are several factors that play a role in the etiology in of rheumatoid arthritis. This includes

Genetics: Genetics is responsible for more than half of rheumatoid arthritis occurrences. Up to 62% of people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis in the United States bears a collective epitope of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR4 cluster, which constitutes one of the peptide-binding sites of particular HLA-DR molecules associated with RA (e.g., HLA-DR beta *0401, 0404, or 0405). HLA-DR1 (HLA-DR beta *0101) also carries this shared epitope and confers risk, specifically in the southern European region. Other HLA-DR4 molecules (e.g., HLA-DR beta *0402) do not have this epitope and do not potent this kind of risk.

Hormonal influence: It has been noticed that hormones associated with sex play a role in rheumatoid arthritis. For example, it was discovered that women on contraceptives have a lesser occurrence of the disease. It is also noticed that women with high production of prolactin are more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis (especially in prolactinoma). Pregnancy is also an important factor, as it improves the condition of patients suffering from the disease

Infections: Some microorganisms have been associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Bacterial and viral organisms are known to cause this disease. An example is the mycoplasma bacteria. Also, Epstein-Barr and even the Rubella have been recorded to cause this disease. There have been documented cases where samples from the synovium of affected patients have tested positive for the presence of antibodies to some anaerobic bacteria

The immune system: The reactions of the body immune system to the body tissues is the most important factor (autoimmunity) Both the body’s cellular and humoral immunity, which encompasses the T cells and the B (plasma) cells play a crucial role in the development of this disease. These two systems destroy the synovium of the joints through the release of chemokines such as Interleukin-1 by the humoral system and the action of macrophages. The vast potential of the Rheumatoid arthritis synovium to be destroyed and multi-systemic autoimmunity distinguishes the disease from other seronegative arthritis.

What Causes Inflammation in the Body

Rheumatoid arthritis begins initially as progressive hyperplasia of cells in the synovium, consequently resulting to autoimmunity in the joints( It starts primarily in the joints before it spreads to other systems of the body). The development of this disease can be categorized into three stages, which are

•Initiation stage: Basically, the genetic makeup of people modify itself regularly as a result of the direct influence of the environment. There are so many triggers for this change; the most popular one has been cigarette smoking. This change in the genetic makeup of an individual is called genetic mutation. This is responsible for the autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis, which is the fundamental problem in the disease.

• Amplification stage: The body immune systems which include both the cellular and humoral stars releasing their agents, i.e., the macrophages and chemokines once they perceive the body tissues as foreign. This eventually leads to inflammation of the synovium in the joints.

•Chronic inflammation: In this phase, the several immunological reactions begin to destroy the synovium of the joints. There are amplified osteoclast action, which eventually damages the bone

How to Reduce Inflammation Before Disease Sets In

There are several ways to slow down inflammation before the illness sets in.

Diet therapy: Food that has a lot of fish in it slows the inflammation process and helps against rheumatoid arthritis. Fish contains Omega 3 acid. Also, vegetables are essential in the control of rheumatoid arthritis, as they contain antioxidants. Vitamin C and E are good anti-oxidants. Anti- oxidants mop up the radicals that can cause harm to the body. Anti-oxidants reduce the pain and the progression of the disease. Examples of this diet are listed below

Vegetables: Vegetables contain vitamins A, B, C, E which are anti –oxidants. These antioxidants reduce the inflammatory reactions and the pain.

Fish: Fishes contain omega 3-acid. This chemical slows down the progression of this disease. It’s safe and has no side effect. Omega3-Acid is present in fishes. Examples of this fish include salmon, Atlantic mackerel, farm harvested fishes

Pregnancy: Pregnancy improves the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This is because of the rise in sex hormones. Although the condition might worsen after delivery.

Herbs: Some herbs have been recorded to improve the symptoms. Example of these herbs include Euonymus alatus, boswellic acid

Beverages: Juices, smoothies, tea, milk all have potent anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to this, they also contain antioxidants in the form of vitamins

Alcohol: alcohol also has some anti-inflammatory properties. Although, this has to be consumed moderately. Alcohol reduces the pro-inflammatory agents in the body, reducing the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Water: Water is essential for hydration, as it removes the dangerous substances from the body in the form of sweat and urine. It improves the chances against Rheumatoid arthritis, thereby reducing the risk

Fruits: Fruits contain vitamins and some antioxidants.  Examples of fruits include berries such as strawberries, red raspberries, blue berries, watermelon, onion, grapes, decreasing the risk of having rheumatoid arthritis

Oils: oils consist of fatty acids, which inhibit the inflammatory progression. Examples of oil include olive oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, canola oil.

Corticosteroids: corticosteroids such as cortisone, prednisone reduces the inflammatory process, as they are fast anti-inflammatory agents, significantly reducing the risk

Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Prevented

Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be avoided. However, the risk factors can be decreased. This include

Smoking: Individuals who have a family member that is affected by rheumatoid arthritis should desist from smoking. Smoking raises the chances of having this disease

Diet: Since rheumatoid arthritis is more common in older women, it is advisable for them to consume food that contains anti-oxidant such as Vitamins C and E. Also, they should consume more of fish products because they contain Omega 3-acid which slows down the inflammatory process

Warm and cold baths: warm baths have proved useful in the reduction of pains, and discomfort associated with movement of the joints.

Physiotherapy: some particular exercise of the joints helps in reducing joint stiffness.

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

As said initially, Rheumatoid arthritis is a multi-systemic disease, which starts primarily in the joints, then later affects other systems.

Joints (Musculoskeletal system): It causes inflammation and destruction of the synovium, damaging the bones. The joints exhibit the classic signs of inflammation which include redness, warmth, pain and reduce the flexibility of the joints. It’s more painful in the morning. However, the pain diminishes over some exercise. This differentiates it from osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in a symmetrical pattern, although might not be symmetrical initially.

Pulmonary system: The abnormal immune system triggers the production of fibroblasts, which eventually leads to fibrosis in the lungs. Although it isn’t prevalent. It is a well-known complication of rheumatoid arthritis

Cardiac system: Hepcidin is a marker for chronic diseases. Simply out, iron is crystallized inside macrophages. This eventually leads to anemia. Also, the platelet counts of the patient shot up because of the unregulated inflammation.

Circulatory system: Rheumatoid arthritis have a high potential to have atherosclerosis. This boosts their chance of developing heart diseases, such as myocardial infarction.

Renal system: Uncontrolled inflammation that persists for a long time eventually leads to renal amyloidosis.

Eyes: In the eyes, rheumatoid arthritis manifest as the inflammation of the sclera of the eyes. If left untreated leads to the dryness of the eyes

Skin: Rheumatoid arthritis leads to the development of nodules on the skin. Other diseases that affect the skin include erythema.

Gastrointestinal: In some cases, rheumatoid arthritis manifests as the inflammation of the spleen and liver

Neuropathies: the median nerve can be compressed as a result of inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis. (carpal tunnel syndrome)

Are There Natural Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments

Vegetables: Vegetables contain vitamins A, B, C, E which are anti –oxidants. These antioxidants reduce the inflammatory reactions and the pain.

Fish: Fishes contain omega 3-acid. This chemical slows down the progression of this disease. It’s safe and has no side effect. Omega3-Acid is present in fishes. Examples of this fish include salmon, Atlantic mackerel, farm harvested fishes

Pregnancy: Pregnancy improves the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This is because of the rise in sex hormones. Although the condition might worsen after delivery.

Herbs: Some herbs have been recorded to improve the symptoms. Example of these herbs include Euonymus alatus, boswellic acid

Beverages: Juices, smoothies, tea, milk all have potent anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to this, they also contain antioxidants in the form of vitamins

Alcohol: alcohol also has some anti-inflammatory properties. Although, this has to be consumed moderately.

Water: Water is essential for hydration, as it removes the dangerous substances from the body in the form of sweat and urine. It improves the chances against Rheumatoid arthritis.

Fruits: Fruits contain vitamins and some antioxidants.  Examples of fruits include berries such as strawberries, red raspberries, blue berries, watermelon, onion, grapes.

Oils: oils consist of fatty acids, which inhibit the inflammatory progression. Examples of oil include olive oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, canola oil

What is a Good Diet to Help Erase the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Vegetables and fruits: vegetables and fruits contain vitamins A, B, C, E which are anti –oxidants. These antioxidants reduce the inflammatory reactions and the pain. Examples of this vegetables include potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, and green vegetables

Fish: Fishes contain omega 3-acid. This chemical slows down the progression of this disease. It’s safe and has no side effect. Omega3-Acid is present in fishes. They reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Grains: Refined grains should be avoided as they worsen rheumatoid arthritis, because of inflammatory properties. Instead, whole grains should be purchased and consumed. This includes Barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, rye bread, amaranth, brown rice, sorghum.

What Types of Medication are Prescribed in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Disease modifying anti-rheumatic agents: They are the first line drugs in the treatment of rheumatic arthritis, and has been the most effective medication for the disease. They are capable of reducing and stopping the progression of the disease. Although, it’s best to combine them with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Examples include Methotrexate: They work by improving the symptoms. They are antifolate drugs.

Sulfasalazine: the mechanism of action is reducing inflammation and reducing prostaglandin production.

Leflunomide: It reduces the destruction of the joints. It improves the symptoms

Anti-inflammatory drugs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, celecoxib are efficient.

Glucocorticoid: examples include prednisone reduces inflammation and improves the symptoms as they are anti-inflammatory drugs.

Surgery: Surgery is most times the last resort. This is used when the drug therapy has not worked. Severely affected joints need surgery for correction.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics such as tetracycline and Minocin are required for patients whose period of the disease is less than two years.

Analgesics: such as paracetamol reduces pain. It’s needed in patients that react to NSAIDs.

Skin gels: Gels such as diclofenac can be used by patients that have acute pain

Chelators: this class of drugs reduces the cellular immunity. This includes the T-cells (macrophages).

Now that you have adequate information about rheumatoid arthritis, visit the nearest doctor for more information. Don’t keep that rheumatoid arthritis to yourself, get the best treatment possible now.

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References

Baldassari, A., Cleveland, R., Jonas, B., Conn, D., Moreland, L., Bridges, S. and Callahan, L. (2014). Socioeconomic Disparities in the Health of African Americans With Rheumatoid Arthritis From the Southeastern United States. Arthritis Care & Research, 66(12), pp.1808-1817.

Bois, J., Crowson, C., Khullar, T., Achenbach, S., Krause, M. and Mankad, R. (2017). Progression rate of severity of aortic stenosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Echocardiography.

Hulen, E., Ervin, A., Schue, A., Evans-Young, G., Saha, S., Yelin, E. and Barton, J. (2016). Patient goals in rheumatoid arthritis care: A systematic review and qualitative synthesis. Musculoskeletal Care.

Reynolds, R., Ahmed, A., Danila, M., Hughes, L., Gregersen, P., Raychaudhuri, S., Plenge, R. and Bridges, S. (2014). HLA-DRB1-Associated Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk at Multiple Levels in African Americans: Hierarchical Classification Systems, Amino Acid Positions, and Residues. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 66(12), pp.3274-3282.

Sparks, J., Chen, C., Hiraki, L., Malspeis, S., Costenbader, K. and Karlson, E. (2014). Contributions of Familial Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus and Environmental Factors to Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Women: A Prospective Cohort Study. Arthritis Care & Research, 66(10), pp.1438-1446.

Yazdany, J., Tonner, C. and Schmajuk, G. (2015). Use and Spending for Biologic Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis Among US Medicare Beneficiaries. Arthritis Care & Research, 67(9), pp.1210-1218.

 

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