Although doctors can’t say what causes rheumatoid arthritis, they do know that it’s the immune system attacking and damaging the body’s joints.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may have joints that appear red and feel warm. Many people say they experience pain right after waking up or after they’ve been resting for a long time. Left untreated, your joints can become deformed.
Without a specific test for rheumatoid arthritis, orthopaedic specialists use your medical history, physical exam, X-rays and lab tests to make a diagnosis.
Getting treatment can help prevent further joint damage. It can also help with pain, joint stiffness and swelling.
Treatment for this inflammatory disorder can include the following five strategies:
Medication – Many people take medication to suppress their body’s immune response. You can also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to reduce inflammation. When you use these drugs together, it can slow joint destruction.
Exercise – Try to keep your muscles healthy and strong. This will help preserve your joint mobility. Exercise can also help you maintain flexibility.
Rest –Taking time to rest your body helps reduce joint inflammation, pain and fatigue. Ask your doctor for strategies on how to balance exercise and rest.
Surgery – In some cases, surgery might be your best option to alleviate joint pain and help a joint work better.
Alternative Therapies – While some mind and body practices may help manage your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, conventional treatments are the most effective way to slow the progress of the disease. Make sure to talk to your doctor before taking a dietary supplement. Supplements can have dangerous side effects and may interact with conventional medical treatments.
If you think you have rheumatoid arthritis, don’t wait to have your symptoms checked out. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect your whole body. There currently is no cure. Once diagnosed, keep up with your doctor appointments so you know if the disease is getting worse or if you need to change medication.
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