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The Care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

By- Leroy Gastering

The various forms of arthritis are each painful and debilitating. Although arthritis is often attributed to aging, certain types of it can occur at any age. Since this disease attacks the joints of the body, the agility and mobility of the patient is threatened. The pain becomes difficult to manage, and, as it progesses, it can have a major impact on quality of life and even extend so far as to cause physical deformity.

The type of arthritis known as rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system. It most often affects the hands of the patient. Rheumatoid arthritis causes severe inflammation of the joints, leading to great pain. In addition to experiencing great pain, sufferers of this type of arthritis often exhibit deformity of the hands and fingers. The patient will lose normal manual function, since the disease affects both hands at the same time.

In a more generic sense, arthritis simply refers to inflammation of the joints. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the linings of these joints become inflamed, which causes cartilage to be destroyed when the linings become overgrown, ultimately eroding the joints. It is this very characteristic that causes the crippling deformities to the fingers and hands.

Though vast numbers of people suffer from all types of arthritis, those people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis comprise only 1% of the population. This terrible disease affects women much more frequently than men and there is, so far, no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The only treatment at this point is managing the pain. Doctors can prescribe various pain relief remedies, depending upon the patient's medical history, overall profile and other related factors.

One of the most common treatments is oral medications to control the swelling and thereby reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Braces or splints may be prescribed to provide support to weakened joints and to remove the excess pressure. If none of these treatments provide relief, surgery may be performed, especially in the more serious cases. This will reduce pain and swelling and improve mobility. The three types of surgery commonly used are T-synovectomy, osteomoty or joint replacement.

When diagnosed early enough, there are many steps that can be used to reduce pain and the other consequences of this type of arthritis. So, even though there~s no known cure, if one experiences pain, swelling, or diminished use of the hands, one should contact a doctor immediately. A plan can be outlined to reduce pain, and prepare for future surgery.

No-one should have to live with pain of arthritis, now that so much progress has been made in the field of pain management. The first steps in managing the pain may be as simple as common aspirin or other medications. If they do not work, a doctor will then prescribe medication that specifically targets arthritis pain. But before that can happen,there has to be open communication between the doctor and the patient regarding the pain early in the treatment. So, it is not advisable to suffer quietly in this case.


Leroy Gastering is the owner of Arthritis Biz,inc. which is a complete resource center for anything and everything related to Arthritis. Please visit http://www.arthritisbiz.com with for any questions or comments about this article
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