Don't Let Rheumatoid Arthritis Ruin Your Retirement Plans
Weak bones & joints can cause a lot of pain. The more you know about rheumatoid arthritis, the better you can do to protect yourself.
The older we grow, the more our body tends to wind down. The health and vitality we feel in our 20s are vastly different from those in our 40s. Back pain and reduced energy are signs that we're getting older, and sometimes your body can go beyond the usual.
Arthritis is a disease associated with people in their 40s, and it is rightfully so. This disease is characterised by pain in your body, especially around your joints and limbs. But how well do you know arthritis? Let us understand the disease.
The art of understanding arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful disease. It is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the body's joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. It affects people of every age but most commonly develops between 40 and 60. RA affects approximately one crore people or about 1 per cent of the Indian population.
What causes rheumatoid Arthritis
The exact cause of RA is unknown, but it is believed in the science community to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of the disease are more likely to develop RA. Other risk factors include smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, and certain environmental toxins.
What are its symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis is a lot more than just joint pains. It affects the entire body and can have a range of symptoms that can catch one off-guard. The most common symptoms include:
Pain, swelling, and stiffness in joints
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Warm and red skin over affected joints
Limited range of motion and decreased grip strength
How do you diagnose it
A diagnosis of RA is based on a combination of clinical symptoms, laboratory tests, and medical imaging studies. The most common lab test used to diagnose RA is a blood test that measures levels of rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.
X-rays and MRI scans can also help diagnose RA and monitor its progression.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease characterised by chronic pain. The treatment options are limited; it aims to control inflammation, relieve pain and swelling, and improve joint function. Treatment includes:
Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
Physical therapy can improve joint function, range of motion, and strength.
Joint injections of corticosteroids provide short-term relief from pain and swelling.
Surgery: In severe cases, joint surgery may be recommended to repair or replace damaged joints.
Prevention of rheumatoid arthritis
There is no guaranteed way to prevent the disease, but the following lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk:
Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing RA.
Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can strain joints and increase the risk of RA.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help maintain joint mobility and reduce the risk of RA.
Avoid environmental toxins: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as second-hand smoke, may increase the risk of RA.
Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can reduce the risk of RA.
Just take these precautions and reduce the chances of developing this disease.
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