What is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune chronic inflammatory disease that typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet.
It occurs in a symmetrical manner, that is, same joints on both the sides are affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
Rheumatoid arthritis sometimes can affect other organs of the body — such as the skin, eyes, lungs and blood vessels.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the smaller joints first — particularly the fingers and the toes.
As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Morning stiffness that may last for hours
- Lumps of tissues under the skin (rheumatoid nodules)
- Fatigue, fever and weight loss
The symptoms may vary in severity from person to person. There are periods of increase in symptoms called “flares” followed by periods of remission (no symptoms).
Eventually, over the time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint deformities.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The cells of the immune system move into the tissue around the joints called “synovium”.
These cells then initiate the inflammatory process, which leads to irritation and wear and tear of the joint cartilages and the space between the bones of the joints narrows.
As it gets worse, the bones start rubbing against each other.
The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and position leading to joint deformity.
Certain genetic factors make the person more susceptible to environmental factors – such as infection with certain viruses and bacteria – that can act as trigger for the disease.
- Sex: women are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis.
- Age: mostly occurs after the age of 40.
- Family history of rheumatoid arthritis.
Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by various means, such as:
- The location and symmetry of painful joints, especially the small joints of hands and feet.
- The joints are swollen, red, tender, and warm to touch.
- Joint stiffnessin the morning.
- Lumps and nodules under the skin(rheumatoid nodules).
- Results of X-ray and blood
- Elevated ESR and CRP levels: sign of on-going inflammatory process in the body.
- Rheumatoid factor
- Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies: suggests the tendency towards more severe form of rheumatoid arthritis.
X-rays: to keep an eye on the progression of the disease and changes in joints over the time.
- Regular gentle exercises for muscle strengthening and increasing the joint flexibility.
- Take proper rest balancing it with daily activities.
- Application of heat and cold to relieve the pain and stiffness in the joints.
- pain and stiffness in joints < morning < initial motion < rest
- > continuous motion
- > warm application
- < dampness, cold in general
- swollen, red, hot, painful joints
- < motion, touch, pressure
- > warmth
- rheumatoid arthritis affecting small joints
- violent, tearing type of pain
- < touch, motion
Pulsatilla and Kalmia Latifolia
- rheumatoid arthritis with wandering joint pains
- joints are also very swollen and inflamed.
- pain passes from one joint to another in quick succession
- rheumatoid arthritis affecting small joints which are both stiff and in pain
- Joints of fingers, wrist, ankles and toes are affected
- aching, drawing type of pain
- Pain wanders from joint to joint every few minutes
- < night
- trouble folding his fingers also finger nodes present.