Rheumatoid Arthritis – Symptoms & Treatment
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that mostly affects the joints. In certain individuals, this condition can affect a wide range of body systems, including skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues of its own organism.
In contrast to the damage caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. Inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is the factor that can damage other parts of the body. While new types of drugs have dramatically improved treatment options, severe rheumatoid arthritis can even cause physical disabilities.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include swollen joints, abdominal stiffness, which is usually worse in the morning and after physical inactivity, fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the smaller joints first – especially the joints that connect the fingers of your hands and the toes. As the disease progresses, the symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, the symptoms appear in the same joints on both sides of the body.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, especially in its severe forms, erodes the patient’s daily life, reducing the ability to respond to socio-economic roles (e.g. in work, and in interpersonal relationships). The fear of establishing chronic disability and / or joint deformities affects both the psychology of the patient and the course of the disease. Numerous studies have shown that fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis increases the likelihood of being absent from work, and the incidence of various problems related to inability to work and finally leads to more medical visits and referrals to other health professionals (psychologists, physiotherapists, etc.).
Patience becomes a necessary ally and the will for an active life requires proper physical exercise and nutrition and systematic planning of the day, in order to have sufficient time for rest.
Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is considered a chronic idiopathic inflammatory disorder, which means that the cause is unknown. There is evidence that the majority of patients have a genetic predisposition to the disease.
There are additional causes, such as environmental toxins, food sensitivities, allergies, stress, trauma, infections, bacterial overgrowth (dysbiosis), intestinal leakage syndrome and hormonal imbalances, which are detected by specialized tests.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Etiological Treatment
The usual treatment includes prescribing NSAIDs, steroids and even opioids. Unfortunately, these treatments only reduce the symptoms of the disease and usually cause unpleasant side effects, such as fatigue, rashes, intestinal discomfort and bleeding and anemia.
Effective treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis can often be achieved through a combination of treatment approaches.
While medication is often necessary during an outbreak or an acute attack, a qualified doctor can help identify and treat the underlying causes of the disease, that are precisely determined through appropriate assays and precise tests, in order to effectively eradicate the disease. At the same time, an anti-inflammatory diet contributes to the therapeutic approach and treatment of the disease.
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).
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