Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid Arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that has the potential to affect many joints, including those in the hands and feet. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s own immune system attacks its tissue like a virus, including joints. In very severe cases, it attacks internal organs, leading to organ failure and extreme complications. More commonly, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with joint linings, which can lead to painful swelling and a large degree of discomfort. Over prolonged periods of time, the inflammation brought on by RA can cause bone erosion or joint deformity.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to Rheumatology.org, “The stiffness seen in active RA is most often worst in the morning. It may last one to two hours (or even the whole day). Stiffness for a long time in the morning is a clue that you may have RA, since few other arthritic diseases behave this way”. Other symptoms include, a loss of energy, fevers brought on by the body fighting inflammation, a loss of appetite, and dry eyes brought on by Sjogren’s Syndrome, a related condition. Firm lumps, called rheumatoid nodules, also form beneath the skin near the elbows and hands.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for RA. Though therapy has come a long way in the past few decades, the goal of these treatments is to lessen symptoms and poor function and to make the pain more manageable. Of course, no single treatment works for all patients across the board. Most doctors recommend immediate, aggressive treatment to prevent the aforementioned joint deformity from getting too severe and debilitating.
In recent years, there has been a trend toward holistic remedies for pain management in the medical forefront. Turmeric has been linked to having anti-inflammatory properties, so taking a supplement with this ingredient can help to ease pain and make morning discomfort and stiffness more manageable. Copper and magnetic therapy bracelets worn at the affected joints can help encourage blood flow to these joints, allowing for an accelerated healing process.