One of the most typical types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is really a chronic disorder, characterized mainly by inflammation of the lining, known as synovium, of the joints. The condition can result in damage in the long term of the joints, therefore resulting to chronic pain, loss of function, and ultimately, disability.
How it Progresses
Usually, rheumatoid arthritis progresses in 3 stages:
First Stage: The synovial lining discovered in the joint where bone ends meet encounters swelling. This leads to discomfort, warmth, stiffness, and redness around the joint. The swelling of the synovium is brought on by a reaction of the immune system, which is triggered by as of yet undiscovered cause, leading the lymphocytes to send their chemical messengers, known as cytokines, to the damaged region.
Second Stage: Reacting to the inflammation, the synovium experiences rapid cell division, known as pannus, therefore resulting in a thickening of the synovial lining. This progression results in much more discomfort for the affected person.
Third Stage: With the synovium thickened, the inflamed cells around it discharge enzymes. These enzymes contain chemical substances capable of digesting bone and cartilage, tissues that make up the joint because of their involvement in overall shape and realignment of the bones and muscle tissues. When the bone and cartilage are attacked, the joint loses its shape and alignment, resulting to more pain and perhaps loss of movement.
Rheumatoid arthritis is really a persistent disorder. That means, it may progress indefinitely and may not go away completely. While it’s really true that the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may disappear for quite a while, frequent flares may also appear.
In addition to being a persistent illness, rheumatoid arthritis is also a systemic illness. This means that it can impact other internal organs in the body, like the skin, blood vessels, lungs, and heart.
To successfully overcome rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis is crucial. There have been a number of reports about how aggressive treatment method to the disorder in its early stages can be really efficient in stopping its advancement. But it should be mentioned that most treatment methods to rheumatoid arthritis presently is to decrease the discomfort brought on by the illness and if possible, prevent the disease from progressing any further.
To be able to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, the individual should meet with the physician first. Blood tests and X-rays are then received to determine if the kind of arthritis you’ve is indeed rheumatoid arthritis (there are many). Along with the blood tests and X-rays, the physician will also review the history of symptoms and examines the joint parts for inflammation and deformity. He’ll also examine the skin for rheumatoid nodules (a typical signal of rheumatoid arthritis) and other parts of the body for inflammation.
In many instances, diagnosis depends on the distribution of joint inflammation because it would be challenging for your physician to make the diagnosis for rheumatoid arthritis because uneven distribution of inflammation may possibly be the outcome of infection or gout. One of the signs of rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical distribution (impacting both sides of the body) of join inflammation in the small joints of the hands, wrists, feet, and knees. Rheumatoid nodules, their presence, may also recommend diagnosis.