Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints, which can lead to pain, swelling and stiffness. It can also affect other parts of the body, such as the lungs and skin.
Symptoms of RA include pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, particularly in the hands, feet and knees. Redness and swelling may also appear in the affected joints. Other symptoms include fatigue, fever and weight loss.
The exact cause of RA is not known, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies have identified some genes associated with an increased risk of developing RA. Additionally, some viral or bacterial infections, as well as smoking, may contribute to the development of the disease.
Treatment for RA focuses on reducing inflammation and relieving pain and stiffness. Commonly used medications for treating RA include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, immunosuppressant drugs, and biologic therapy. Physical therapy and exercise can also help improve mobility and joint function. In severe cases, surgery, such as knee or hip arthroplasty, may be necessary to improve the patient’s quality of life.
It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and work with a medical team to find the best treatment plan for your individual case of rheumatoid arthritis. It is also important to lead a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, to help control symptoms and improve quality of life.