People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) suffer from inflammation and pain in the joint region. As the surrounding tissues continue to swell up, the cartilage gets affected, which eventually leads to the disfigurement of fingers, elbows, or knees. Paying close attention to symptoms, getting them checked for RA, and seeking health care can reduce further wear and tear of the ligaments and joints. Let’s take a closer look at this disease and available treatment options.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
A factor that doctors consider instrumental in the development of RA is abnormally large amounts of proteins in the immune system known as rheumatoid factors (RF). This is because those diagnosed with RA show higher levels of RF. These proteins can destroy the membrane around the joint and gradually affect the bone. Apart from these, certain factors like obesity and stressful environs can put one at risk of the disease. In some cases, RA is also found to be hereditary and occurs due to distinct genetic markers.
Symptoms to monitor
While causes of RA are not easily known, symptoms of the disease can certainly be identified. A prominent indicator is stiffness in different joints. One may find it difficult to move not only the knees but also the shoulders, feet, and hips due to swelling in these areas. If this is accompanied by deformity and mild to moderate pain, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Some patients may experience associated symptoms like frequent dryness of eyes and mouth, lumps emerging in joint areas, or shortness of breath.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
Depending on the severity of the condition, doctors may either advise patients to take certain medications along with physiotherapy or ask them to undergo joint replacement surgery. If the joints have undergone minimum damage, it is possible that proactive self-care can help improve symptoms. However, if the joints are eroded to the point of no mobility, surgery may be the only option. The key point of these treatments is to restore function by correcting the deformity.
Remedies for pain relief
Along with medical care, there are effective methods to ease excruciating joint pain at home. One way is to meditate in order to calm the mind and body. This relaxes the muscles and releases existing tension, thereby allowing the joints to heal from the prevailing aching sensation. Yoga and deep breathing can have a similar effect too. Another option is to use warm or cold compresses to regulate blood flow and facilitate painless movement.
Diet to follow
Having certain foods can make patients feel better because of their soothing properties. Maintain a diet with plenty of nutritious anti-inflammatory foods. This means one must incorporate fatty fish, seeds, fruits, and vegetables into meals. Olive oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and can especially improve mobility of fingers and overall bone health.
Eating well, taking prescribed medications, and practicing stress-relieving activities can benefit patients significantly. Active self-care is essential for those who want to recover from rheumatoid arthritis. Making healthy lifestyle choices is a great way to begin.