Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that affects various joints of the body like shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles and joints of hands and feet. It can start with one or multiple joints initially and over a period of time other new joints can be affected. It is a common ailment and as per statistics 1 in 100 people are getting affected with this disease. Females are more frequently affected than males. Any age groups ranging from 20 to 60 years can become prone to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Most common symptoms are joint pain with or without swelling of joints.
Patient also experiences stiffness of joints after getting up in the morning, which can last up to few hours. Diagnosing the disease and initiation of treatment by a Rheumatologist in early phase of disease is very important. If neglected for months and years, joints can get damaged, which causes deformities (as shown in the picture) or reduced movement at the joints. Heart, lungs, kidneys and many other organs can also be affected as complication, if appropriate treatment is not taken.
Giving his note Dr. Nayan Patel, MBBS, MD, DM (NIMS) Consultant Rheumatologist, STAR Hospitals, said, “Joint pains can also occur in other diseases like Spondyloarthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Gout, SLE (Lupus), Sjogren Syndrome, Myositis and various other Rheumatological diseases. These diseases has to be differentiated from RA, as treatment is different for each of these diseases.” Various treatment options are available for RA, which can be used safely for a long time under the guidance and supervision of a Rheumatologist.
It is also important to remember that regular follow up with your doctor is necessary to keep track of your disease, and treatment should not be stopped without the advice of your Rheumatologist, even after symptoms subsides completely, to prevent recurrence of joint pains.
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