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Rheumatoid arthritis: what it is, what are its symptoms and its best treatment

It is very normal to confuse arthritis with osteoarthritis since they are two rheumatic diseases that have many things in common. However, there are clear characteristics to differentiate one from the other. In this post we will tell you in detail what rheumatoid arthritis is and everything you need to know about this pathology.

What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

Arthritis is a autoimmune disease that consists of increased tenderness and swelling in the joints. Since joints are the junctions between bones, this swelling and tenderness produces progressive pain with movement and activity, especially in the extremities.

Tipos de artritis_

What is the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis?

As we mentioned at the beginning, arthritis and osteoarthritis are very similar diseases, which is why it is very common to confuse them.

On the one hand, the osteoarthritis It is a degenerative pathology that chronically attacks cartilage which is in the joints. The progressive disappearance of that pad that separates the bones produces friction between them, producing intense pain and loss of mobility in the joints.

On the other handArthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the joints of the bones become inflamed.. That is, it is the same immune system that must protect the patient that attacks healthy cells by mistake. Unlike osteoarthritis, arthritis directly attacks the synovial membrane.

Types of arthritis

More than 100 different rheumatic conditions and diseases arise from arthritis., rheumatoid arthritis being one of the most common and which we will focus on later. It is very common for all of them to share symptoms and some can even affect more than one organ. Between the most common types of arthritis they find each other:

Zonas que pueden estar afectadas por la artritis reumatoide_

  • Osteoarthritis: disease in which the tissues of the joint deteriorate over time. It is the most common type, especially in older people.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: long-term chronic disease that affects the joints
  • Juvenile arthritis: chronic disease that affects children and occurs when the immune system attacks healthy joint tissues
  • Spondyloarthropathy: inflammatory disease that attacks the sacroiliac joints, the spine and can also affect the hip
  • Lupus erythematosus: long-term autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body such as the skin, joints, heart, lungs, kidneys or brain
  • Drop: disease that causes pain and swelling usually for one to two weeks and then goes away. It usually starts with a big toe.
  • Infectious arthritis: reactive disease that reacts to an infection in another part of the body. It usually affects the knee, foot, or ankle.
  • Psoriasic arthritis: disease that affects some people who suffer from psoriasis, a skin condition that causes redness, silvery scales and skin irritation.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

The rheumatoid arthritis symptoms They usually begin to manifest on the feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists. A person with this pathology can suffer.

  • Joint inflammation and pain: It usually occurs symmetrically, that is, in both limbs at the same time and begins with symptoms of mild pain and stiffness that increase slowly
  • Stiffness and difficulty of movement: This symptom intensifies in the first hour of the morning when the patient feels the joints more sensitive, stiff and hot than normal.
  • Redness, pain and swelling in the affected area.

Causas de la artritis reumatoide

Areas that may be affected by rheumatoid arthritis

According to statistics, 4 in 10 people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis also have signs and symptoms in other parts of the body in addition to the joints. Among the main areas affected are the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nervous tissue, bone marrow and blood vessels.

These symptoms that do not involve the joints They can be different in intensity and usually appear and disappear. This occurs in so-called flares, periods of increased disease activity, which alternate between phases of relative remission, when swelling and pain subside or disappear.

Causes of rheumatoid arthritis

Despite there being a lot of research on the matter, The causes and ways to prevent rheumatoid arthritis are still unknown. However, it is possible to affirm that arthritis is not hereditary, much less contagious.

Arthritis risk factors

Although it is not possible to define what causes this autoimmune pathology, we can determine some factors that occur in patients who suffer from it more frequently and that can be considered as risk factor's.

Although it is not classified as a hereditary disease, Family history is an important risk factor in all autoimmune diseases.

The risk of rheumatoid arthritis also increases with age and particularly among women.. Joint injuries and overexertion of the joints, as occurs in athletes or people who are overweight and obese, generate greater wear and tear and the likelihood of suffering from arthritis.

Cuáles son los síntomas de la artritis reumatoide

Diagnosis and treatments to relieve rheumatoid arthritis

How is arthritis diagnosed?

To diagnose arthritis, the specialist will perform a complete physical examination and speak with the patient to learn their medical history. You will probably ask for a blood test to evaluate markers inflammatory and extract synovial fluid from the joint using a needle to analyze it.

On the other hand, the patient will be asked for one or more of the following: diagnostic imaging tests: CT scan, MRI, x-rays and musculoskeletal ultrasounds.

Main treatments for arthritis

At the moment, There is no definitive cure for arthritis.. Even so, there are different types of treatments which are used to relieve pain and improve the condition of the joints. Typically, several combinations of treatments are used for each individual person. Depending on the severity and progression of the disease, the patient may be prescribed medications, surgery and/or physiotherapy.

Most common medications to treat arthritis

Among the main medications that are used to treat arthritis are:

Qué es la artritis reumatoide

  • Analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications: They serve to reduce pain and inflammation. Depending on the level of pain experienced by the patient, the specialist trauma doctor will prescribe a more or less strong drug to his patient.
  • Medications that affect the immune system: They are used to modify the immune response based on a biological modification.
  • Corticosteroids: They can be taken either orally or through local injections that, in addition to reducing inflammation, can suppress the immune system.

Rheumatoid arthritis surgery

When medications do not work or the disease progresses aggressively, the specialist may recommend an intervention such as joint repair or replacement and fusion of the joint through a arthroplasty. It is a minimally invasive surgery that aims to restore the function of a joint or to correct a deformity.

Physiotherapy in the treatment of arthritis

Physiotherapy is recommended in all cases to accompany the medical treatment indicated by the specialist. Through exercises performed with a professional physiotherapist it is possible to improve mobility and strengthen the joints. It's very probable that Early physiotherapy treatment can delay the effects caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

If you have any of the symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis, do not hesitate to contact us. ask for a date with us experts in traumatology and minimally invasive surgery. At Clínica Elgeadi we are willing to help you and offer you the most suitable diagnosis and recovery for your particular situation.

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At Clínica Elgeadi we are committed to our community and open to advise and answer any question whenever possible.

To offer an accurate diagnosis to the patient, a personalized evaluation and a thorough review of their medical history will always be necessary. Once the case has been studied individually, the most appropriate treatment will be recommended to the patient according to their pathology and/or illness.

Furthermore, from the Elgeadi clinic, we would like to remind you that no medication will be prescribed without prior consultation.

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