Humans are able to do many movements or to move around with the presence of limbs. Limbs such as the hand and legs can be affected with many diseases and can affect people of different ages or stages of life. Some diseases are diseases that may be prevented whereas some diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may not be able to be fully prevented. There are many medicines available including Azoren 40 g to treat disease that may affect limbs. In this article, we will be learning about rheumatoid arthritis and can it be cured.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is defined as an autoimmune disease that mostly affects the joints. RA as an autoimmune disease means that the immune system which normally functions to protect body cells from infection or diseases, attack its own tissue in the body. In short, an autoimmune disease is a disease characterised by the abnormal immune response attacking cells in its own body. This response led to the inflammation process affecting the body. In the case of RA, it mainly attacks joints.
It is not exactly known why RA occurs but there are causes that have been identified to be causing RA. This includes genes and exposure to environmental factors triggering RA. RA may have been activated years before any symptoms are exhibited by the patient. An autoimmune process may actually happen in many areas inside of the body but the main effect is usually to the joints. In RA, the immune system causes inflammation of the inner lining of the joints known as synovium. Such an inflammation process causes the synovium to be thick. These changes to the synovium will eventually lead to symptoms. As time goes by, the thick inflamed synovium pushes through the joint and ultimately destroys the bone and cartilage in the joint. These damages are also caused by chemicals released by the thick inflamed synovium. Although there are many theories that have been suggested to be causing RA such as infection as a trigger, none of these theories is fully validated to be the main cause of RA. Hence, as the word implies, the word autoimmune disease itself meaning it is an automated immune response with no concrete apparent reasons or causes.
There are certain risk factors that make a person much more susceptible to get RA. This includes those with older age, family history of RA due to genetic inheritance, smoking and obesity. RA is also much more common to be seen in women compared to men as it could be from a hormonal factor that plays a role in many autoimmune diseases including RA. Do you know why autoimmune disease is more prominent in women? It is because the larger number of genes originating from the X chromosomes has a huge possibility of gene mutations. This explains why women tend to develop autoimmune disease as women have two X chromosomes in comparison with men that only have one X chromosome.
Symptoms of RA may vary in people as some may be affected mildly and some may be affected severely. Common symptoms include joint pain, swelling and stiffness of more than one joint at the same time. Joint pain occurs at rest and when moving. Swelling of the joint is usually accompanied by tenderness and feeling warmth of the joint. Joint stiffness typically lasts longer than 30 minutes and is usually experienced right after waking up in the morning or after a long rest. RA initially affects the small joints in the hands or feet. Over time, RA symptoms will get worse as it affects more joints. RA will affect both sides of the body such as both hands or both knees. Since RA is an autoimmune disease, it also affects the general body system causing a person to feel fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.
Now, to the question of whether RA can be cured, unfortunately there is no cure for RA but treatments are available to help reduce symptoms. One of the common medications widely used in RA is disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). DMARD is usually used as initial treatment. This medicine works by blocking the effect of the chemicals released by the autoimmune process. Examples of DMARD are methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine. DMARD may take months before it is fully able to improve symptoms. The newer form of treatment available is biological treatment such as adalimumab. This specific treatment is usually given with a combination of DMARD and is usually given when DMARD is not effective to be used as sole medicine. Beside medication to help slow down the RA progression, medications such as painkillers, steroid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed by doctors to alleviate pain and inflammation.
RA is better treated not only with medications. Patients with RA should also make life adjustments such as learning how to manage pain, exercise that helps to reduce pain, practising healthy eating habits and to cope with emotional distress. It is important for patients to know where they can get support as living with RA means RA is a lifetime disease. Patients can always speak to a healthcare professional if they struggle with RA. The best way to manage RA is to take medications as instructed and to follow doctor’s advice. Should there be any doubts or enquiries regarding RA, it should be addressed to the healthcare provider.