Rheumatoid Arthritis - Analyzing A Health Problem

October 4, 2008 by admin 

Rheumatoid Arthritis may be painful, but it does not have to mean an end to mobility. The causes are too widespread to pinpoint and the cure eludes us, but through treatment and coping options, you can still live a productive life and prevent some of the serious damage that can happen as a result. You may attend the Arthritis Foundation treatment seminars, pick up a tai chi class, undergo joint replacement therapy or take Advil to relieve the pain. The best approach is a combination of efforts to which you can adhere.

Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include: joint pain, joint swelling and joints that are tender to the touch. Whether you have red puffy hands, firm bumps of tissue beneath the skin on your arms, or morning stiffness that lasts at least thirty minutes, you may have some level of the disease. Often, sufferers feel tired, lose weight and sense changes in wrists, hands, ankles and feet at first. In later stages, the elbows, shoulders, knees, hips and the jaw and neck can also be affected. Signs and symptoms of pain may flare up and then alternate with periods of relative remission.

Your doctor will perform a physical exam to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. He or she will ask you about signs and symptoms, then usually perform a blood test to check for an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which will reveal an inflammatory process in the body. Other blood tests check for the rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, which cause joint damage. Additionally, by using a needle, a joint fluid analysis can pinpoint the disease and help rule out other disorders that mimic the symptoms of arthritis. Once diagnosed, X-rays can help track the progression of the disease in your joints.

The Arthritis Foundation can be a powerful tool to help sufferers with rheumatoid arthritis, who may believe that it is difficult for friends and family to understand what they are going through. Since chronic pain isn’t readily visible, it may be hard for others to comprehend why you just “can’t do” certain activities anymore. Having patience and understanding the disease is the most important thing you can do. Since there is no absolute cure, doctors are becoming more open to alternative medicine, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine for pain management. For instance, omega 6 plant oils (like GLA) can help with morning stiffness, while eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is found in fish oil, can reduce pain and stiffness. Tai chi is a relaxing exercise that has been known to help reduce arthritis pain as well.

To learn more go to Arthritis Knee Surgery and at Arthritis Pain


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