What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
is an inflammatory disorder that is chronic in characteristic. This type of arthritis
is differentiated from the osteoarthritis (which is caused due to the damage to the cartilage of the joints) as rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the smaller joints in the feet and hands. This damage to the lining of the smaller joints results in their swelling to painful levels and can eventually causes erosion of these bones and even deformity of the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and is the result of a malfunctioning of the body’s immune system which causes it to adversely affect the body. Apart from affecting the smaller joints rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body such as skin, eyes, blood vessels and lungs.
This disorder can affect at any age but is mainly seen after the age of 40 years and is known to be more prevalent in women.
What are the signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Most commonly seen signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are:
- Warm and tender inflamed joints
- Stiffness in the joints after waking from sleep
- Hard bumps can be felt under the skin on the arms called ‘rheumatoid nodules’.
- Weight loss
The earliest stages of rheumatoid arthritis affect the smaller joints such as the knuckle and toe joints. As the disorder progresses these symptoms are seen spreading to the larger joints in the body such as shoulder joints
, hip joint, elbow joint, ankle joints, knee joints and the wrist joints.
Mostly these symptoms are seen to alternate between severe pain and complete lack of symptoms at times in between. As the disorder develops more the joint deformity it causes becomes more visible.
What are the causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The main cause of rheumatoid arthritis is when the body’s own immune system starts to attack the synovium (membranes that line the joints) which results in the soft synovium to start getting hard and thick. This thickening of the synovium can cause the cartilage and the bone of the joint to eventually get destroyed.
This further causes the ligaments and tendons in the joints to stretch and become weak which results in the joint getting misshapen and misaligned. The basic factor for causing the immune system to respond towards the body in such a way is a genetic disorder that makes the person more susceptible towards developing rheumatoid arthritis.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis treated?
The earliest stages of the rheumatoid arthritis do not show any symptoms that are exclusive to it.
In case the doctor can see visible signs of inflammation and redness on your joints they may advise you to undergo further diagnostic tests, such as:
A person affected with rheumatoid arthritis shows an increase in the ‘erythrocyte sedimentation rate’ (also known as ESR or sed rate) which points towards the swelling process in the joints of the body. Another factor that is determined by a blood test is to check for anti-cyclic citrullinate d-peptide (or anti-CCP) antibodies.
An x-ray examination can help determine the extent of the swelling and the progress of the rheumatoid arthritis in the joints.
Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis there are a number of measures that can help reduce the painful swelling in the joints and avoid further damage to the affected joints.
In case your joints are severely damaged due to rheumatoid arthritis, these are the few methods of alleviating pain and preventing the further progress of the disorder:
There are a number of medications that are prescribed by the doctor to help reduce inflammation of the joints and to relieve the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as
- NSAIDs – These are ‘non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs’ that are helpful in alleviating the pain as well as reducing the swelling of the joints. A few side effects are seen with most of the NSAIDs.
- Steroids – Corticosteroid medications can help reduce the pain, swelling and slow damage to the bone of the affected joints.
- DMARDs – These are ‘disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs’ that decrease the rate of progress of rheumatoid arthritis and thereby avoid permanent damage to the tissues and the joints.
- Biologic agents – These are a type of DMARDs that work by targeting the parts of the immune system which triggers inflammation in the joints and the damage to the tissues surrounding these joints.
The doctor may suggest a therapist who can teach you certain exercises and movements that help keep the joints flexible. The therapist also suggests alternate ways to perform daily tasks that avoid using the painful joints as much as possible.
In such a case that all other options for treatment are unsuccessful in alleviating your pain and slowing the degradation of your joint tissues and bone the doctor will suggest surgical methods that will be helpful.
These surgeries are designed to restore your ability to use these joints normally. The surgical method for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis may involve either one, or a combination, of these surgical methods:
- Total joint replacement – This surgery involves removal of the bone parts that form the affected joint and replacing them with prosthetic parts made from medical-grade plastic or metal.
- Tendon repair – Swelling and damage to the joints may result in the surrounding tendons getting ruptures or loosened. This surgery aims to repair these torn or damaged tendons.
- Joint fusion – When joint replacement option is not viable the surgeon will stabilize or realign the affected joint and reduce the pain through fusing the joint together and restrict its movement completely.
Why choose Travcure Medical Tourism Consultants for treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis in India?
Travcure Medical Tourism Consultants
are known for their efficiency in managing your itinerary to the smallest detail so that your stay for treatment in India is hassle-free and affective. Travcure is connected with a plethora of large hospitals and reputed clinics that have the most experienced and extensively trained orthopedic doctors and surgeons. Travcure will provide you the best deals for getting treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in India at the lowest cost and at the best hospitals in all major cities of India.