RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Understanding & Treatment Options

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the joints causing joint pain, inflammation, and swelling. RA is the most serious form of arthritis and can cause bone erosion, joint deformity and loss of mobility if left untreated. The disease attacks in a symmetrical pattern so if one joint is affected, the other usually become affected as well. Joint damage is irreversible and can have early onset, so early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to control RA. If you are experiencing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, schedule a consultation online today with one of our premier podiatrists in South Florida to explore proper RA treatment.

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis comes in many forms and millions of Americans suffer from it. The most common types of arthritis are:

  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Traumatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is no definite known cause but researchers have concluded that an abnormal response in the immune system causes the inflammation and joint damage. Studies show evidence that the root causes of RA are from genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors such as:

  • Hormones: Women are three to four times more likely to develop RA than men.
  • Age: The illness usually onsets with individuals between the ages of 30-60.
  • Prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, insecticides, mineral oil, and silica.
  • Infectious agents like bacterial and viral infections that strike the joints.
  • Defective genes caused by congenital autoimmune disease syndrome.
  • The body’s response to physical and emotional injuries.
  • Using prescription drugs and illegal street drugs.
image showing how RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS effects the hand and wrist

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Common symptoms are:

  • Chronic joint pain, tenderness or stiffness
  • Swelling in one or more parallel joints
  • Redness or heat in a joint
  • Limitation in joint mobility
  • Prolonged morning stiffness
  • Skin rashes and growths
  • Fatigue and weight loss

Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is no cure for RA but studies show that early remission can minimize joint damage and prevent the loss of mobility.  Common treatments include:

  • NSAIDs: Relieve symptoms with over-the-counter and prescription pain medications like aspirin
  • Steroids: Used to control inflammation and reduce joint damage
  • Therapy: Physical therapy and exercise to improve physical function and mobility
  • Orthotics: Prescribed shoes for those dealing with feet problems

Surgery

In more severe arthritis cases, our doctors may suggest the following surgical procedures:

  • Joint fusion: The joint is stabilized or realigned  for pain relief
  • Joint replacement: The damaged parts of the joint are removed and replaced with a prosthesis
  • Tendon  Repair: Repairs the tendons around the damaged joint
  • Synovectomy:  Removes the inflamed lining of the synovium joint

How to Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is no definite prevention method but self-management techniques such as proper exercise, healthy dieting, and early detection can help with reducing the chances of developing chronic RA and living a holistically healthy life.

If you are experiencing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at 305.853.5151 with one of our premier podiatrists in South Florida to explore the proper RA treatment for you.

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