Bones provide support to the body aid in its movement. The places where two or more bones meet are called a joint. Joints may be immovable, slightly movable or freely movable. A synovial membrane surrounds movable joints, inside the membrane synovial fluid lubricates a new joint tissue such as cartilage. Articular cartilage is a close slippery covering on the ends of the bones which allows smooth joint moment. Joints give body flexibility, precision of movement and helps in supporting the body’s weight. Arthritis is any disorder that affects joints. It can cause pain and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis. The joints most commonly affected are in the wrist, hands, knees, ankles and feet, it typically occurs on the same joint on both sides of the body. It can also affect other organs in the body such as the eyes, skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, nervous system and digestive track.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disorder; this means the body attacks itself bimistake. In rheumatoid arthritis the immune system attacks both joint and organ tissues. The white blood cells of immune system move into the joint they release chemicals called cytokines, which attack the cells of synovial membrane. These chemicals cause other synovial cells to release other destructive substances. They also cause synovial membrane to grow new blood vessels from the thickened area called pannus. As this pannus grows it invades and destroys cartilage and bone inside the joint. This inflammation causes fluid build-up in the joint making the joint swell. Without treatment the joint space narrows and ankylosis occurs. Ankalosis is a fusion or growing together of bone in the joint. This allows the loss of ability to move the joint. Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men.
Rheumatoid arthritis Symptoms
- Fatigue and tiredness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Joint swelling.
- Joint dislocation.
- Joint redness.
Rheumatoid arthritis Treatment
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Various combination of medicines are prescribed, when taken together can reduce inflammation and pain and slow down the damage. These include NSID’s, Steroids, Anti rheumatic drugs. Physical and occupational therapy along with low impact exercise can increase the muscle strength and helps to keep joints limber. Severe rheumatoid arthritis that has not helped by other treatments doctors may recommend a surgical procedure called a joint replacement procedure called arthroplasty. For joints that are difficult to replace joint fusion also known as arthrodesis is recommended. During this procedure the joints are removed and bones are fused together with bone graft. The other surgical procedure for rheumatoid arthritis is synovectomy. In this procedure the synovial membrane surrounding the joint is removed. In few cases the arthritic joint may need to be replaced with an artificial joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis Prevention
There is no identified way to prevent it, because the accurate causes are still unknown. However, there may be ways to decrease the chance of beginning of severe joint damage.