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Arise Nursing Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the prevalence of the disease is about 1% of the UK population – with inflammatory arthritis being the most common. Generally, it is about 2–4 times more common for women than men, affecting about 1.5 men and 3.6 women per 10,000 people per year. Here are ten essential facts to know about Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Autoimmune Disease 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues, especially the synovium (lining) of the joints.

Chronic Inflammation

It leads to chronic inflammation in the affected joints, causing pain, swelling, and eventually joint damage if not adequately managed.

Symmetrical Joint Involvement

Rheumatoid Arthritis typically affects joints on both sides of the body, for example, both wrists or both knees.

Extra-Articular Symptoms

Rheumatoid Arthritis can also affect organs and systems beyond the joints, causing complications like heart disease, lung problems, and eye issues.

Morning Stiffness

One of the hallmark symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis is morning stiffness that lasts for more than an hour. This stiffness can also occur after prolonged periods of rest.

Prevalence

Rheumatoid Arthritis is more common in women than in men, and it often starts between the ages of 30 and 60. However, it can affect people of any age, including children (juvenile idiopathic arthritis).

Joint Erosion

If left untreated, Rheumatoid Arthritis can lead to joint deformities and permanent joint damage due to the erosion of cartilage and bone.

Treatments

There’s no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, but treatments aim to control symptoms and slow down disease progression. Medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes are common treatment approaches.

Early Diagnosis is Crucial

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to managing Rheumatoid Arthritis. Prompt intervention can help prevent joint damage and improve the quality of life.

Patient-Specific

Rheumatoid Arthritis can vary significantly from person to person. Some individuals experience mild symptoms and periods of remission, while others have more severe chronic diseases.

It’s crucial for individuals experiencing symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, an​​d morning stiffness to seek medical evaluation, as early intervention can make a significant difference in the course of the disease. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a complex condition, but with the right treatment and management, many people with it can lead fulfilling lives.

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