January 27, 2013
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease- meaning the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues including the joints in the wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, and feet as well as causing damage to the lungs, arteries, blood vessels, spinal cord and heart (Falvo, 2009). Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by periods of flares and remissions (NIAMS, 2009). Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can cause negative effects on an individual’s ability to participate in work, family life, leisure, and social relationships, but with early diagnosis, disease education, and effective treatment patients can lead normal functional lives.
In 2005, an estimated 1.5 million or about 0.6 percent of the U.S. adult population had RA (NIAMS, 2009) and (CDC, 2012). Based on data from 1965-1990, it was found that people with RA are more than twice as likely to die than people of the same age in the general population (CDC, 2012). Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors but at the present time there is no known cause of RA. Although, a definite cause is unknown, there are several known risk factors some which are considered modifiable (CDC, 2012). These include: family history, age, gender, reproductive/breastfeeding history and smoking.
Doctors and specialist believe that a family history of the disease makes an individual much more likely to develop the disease. However, the majority of physicians and scientists do not believe that rheumatoid arthritis is directly inherited (CDC, 2012). Instead, a predisposition for the development of the disease is inherited which makes that individual more likely to develop the disease (CDC, 2012).
The development of the condition rheumatoid arthritis most commonly occurs between the ages of 40-60, or middle age (CDC, 2012). However,
References: Arthritis Foundation. (2012). Community Programs for Better Living- Aquatics. Retrieved on January 7, 2013 from http://www.arthritis.org/resources/community-programs/aquatics Arthritis Walk Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (November 19, 2012). Rheumatoid arthritis. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid.htm Falvo, D Haaz, S. (2009). Yoga for Arthritis. The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. Retrieved on January 9, 2013 from http://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/yoga-for arthritis/#studies Kids First Swim School