Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA, is a type of inflammation in the joints resulting in painful deformity and immobility. It usually occurs in the fingers, wrist, feet, and ankles. This connective tissue disease results when the immune system targets a person’s joint linings. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be passed down by, the parent’s genes, environmental structures, and hormones.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis include, fatigue, joint pain, joint tenderness, joint swelling, joint redness, joint warmth, and stiffness of joints (particularly worse in the morning). About 1.3 million people in the U.S or 1% of adults have Rheumatoid Arthritis. According to some studies, smoking may trigger RA. The risk of RA varies with geography. Apparently, the further you get from the equator, the higher your risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis.
The risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis increased in women. Between 1995 to 2007, 2.5% increase in the rate of RA among women, while rates among men dropped over that period of time. It is not clear why, but researchers speculate that it may be due to cigarette smoking since studies show that women aren't quitting as quickly as men; lower-estrogen birth control pills causing the hormone may be protective; and, possibly, more vitamin D deficiencies when out in the sun. Some say that moderate alcohol is an anti-inflammatory and that a drink a day of wine for women and one or two drinks for men may reduce risk of developing RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is difficult to diagnose in early stages because the early signs and symptoms mimic those of other diseases. There are no blood tests or physical findings to confirm it. During the physical exam, the doctor will check the joints for redness, warmth, and swelling to indicate if you have RA. Although there is not permanent cure, some treatments include, lifelong medications, physical therapy sessions, exercise, education, and surgery. However, early aggressive treatment can delay joint destruction....
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