Rheumatoid arthritis (or RA, as it is sometimes shortened) is a disease that is as common as it is mysterious. Millions of people from all over the world suffer from this auto-immune disease and they still do not know what is it that caused it exactly.
As a matter of fact, scientists have been studying the field for a very long while now and they haven’t yet discovered the cause behind this very common disease.
What they do know is the fact that it is an auto-immune disease which means that the immune system of the patient starts attacking its own cells.
This may be the most important fact medical researchers know about rheumatoid arthritis and it may be precisely the thing that will eventually lead them to the correct answer.
RA – Common, Yet Mysterious
Although rheumatoid arthritis affects mostly people who have reached their middle age, the truth is that regardless of age or sex, anyone can be affected by this disease. The worst part is the fact that it cannot be actually cured and that most of the treatment administered by the doctors to those who suffer from this disease will only help them live and cope with it better.
In the case of the rheumatoid arthritis, the auto-immune system attacks the cells in the bones and joints, which leads to irritation and inflammation in the area. Swollen joints, fever and even weight loss are common symptoms of those who suffer from RA.
Since the cause of the disease is not yet known and since it cannot be actually cured, it is of the highest importance that you visit a doctor as soon as you start experiencing the first symptoms, because this will help you cope better with the disease itself.
The methods of diagnose vary from one case to the other, but something medical professionals will definitely look at is your genetic history. The cause of the development of RA is not known, as mentioned before, but it is suggested that genetics do play an important factor.
Furthermore, bear in mind that if you are a woman you have a higher chance of being affected by rheumatoid arthritis than if you are a man.
Advice on Coping with RA
In addition to certain types of medication (which may or may not include analgesics, disease-modifying drugs, glucocorticoids, and so on), the doctor will also prescribe you a change of lifestyle if it is needed. First of all, you will have to change your diet, since the way you eat and what you eat can affect multiple areas of your body.
Although there is no consensus on whether or not your diet truly affects your disease’s development, you may want to know that some of the patients out there have responded well to gluten-free diets. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants may help you reduce the inflammation and they may help you regain your daily routine.
In addition to some diet tips, you may also be advised to work out mildly and regularly. Stretching is one of the things you will be advised to do (especially in the morning, when the symptoms of pain tend to get stronger than in the rest of the day). Moreover, you may be advised to take good care of those parts of your body that hurt.
For example, if it is your hands that have been affected by RA, you will want to be careful about the exercise you practice there. However, you can exercise the rest of the body just fine (the elbows included, for example). Furthermore, if you are overweight, your doctor may recommend you to lose some pounds, since they can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on all of your joints.
The most important thing though is to stay positive and to try as much as you can to go through your day without worrying about your disease. The recent discoveries in the field show that everything is in a good direction and that it may be sooner, rather than later, that you will be able to reap the benefits of an actual treatment.
Scientists have discovered that what may be the cause for rheumatoid arthritis are gut bacteria. Apparently, they train the body to create immune cells called Th17, which in its turn leads to inflammation. If the researchers will be able to find the answer to the question of what causes this disease, a new and much improved treatment may be on the market sooner than you would expect!.