What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily impacts the body’s joints. The disorder occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks body tissue, creating inflammation and causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints.
In most cases, early Rheumatoid Arthritis impacts the smaller joints in your fingers and toes. As the condition progresses, symptoms often spread to larger joints such as the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In many patients, the disease is symmetrical, causing inflammation in the same joints on both sides of your body.
About 40 percent of people experience Rheumatoid Arthritis that impacts various body systems, including, but not limited to the skin, heart and blood vessels. The signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis may vary in severity and can come and go in flares.
What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms may include:
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Pain and stiffness in the morning lasting longer than 30 minutes
- Fatigue, fever, loss of appetite
- Joint stiffness that worsens in the mornings and after inactivity
What triggers Rheumatoid Arthritis?
To best manage your condition, it is important to know what can trigger your symptoms to occur. Triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Poor Sleep
- Infections or Colds
Some evidence indicates that Rheumatoid Arthritis runs in families, however genetics are thought to play a small role in the condition.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is more prevalent in women than in men. It is believe that this is caused by the increased amount of Estrogen in women.
Exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, insecticides and occupational exposures to mineral oil and silica increase the potential to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is not fully understood, but there is scientific evidence that genes, hormones and environmental factors are involved:
- Genetics- Some evidence has shown that Rheumatoid Arthritis may run in families, however, genes are thought to play a small role in the condition.
- Hormones- Rheumatoid Arthritis is more common in women than in men, which may be because of the effects of the hormone estrogen.
- Environmental- Exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, insecticides and occupational exposures to mineral oil and silica.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis treated?
The treatment goal is to relieve pain and reduce swelling in the joints and stop the disease from progressing. Although there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, research has shown that remission of symptoms is more likely to occur in patients that receive treatment early on. People who receive early treatment are also more likely to reduce long-term conditions and live an active life.
Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis include the following:
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic response modifiers (biologics)-Relieve symptoms and slow or prevent joint damage
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and Corticosteroids- Reduce swelling and relieve pain
- Physical therapy - Helps preserve joint function and may prevent deformities
- Surgery - Replaces joints
How does Noble help me manage my Rheumatoid Arthritis?
At Noble Health Services, we offer a variety of medications to help you treat your symptoms. We help you manage your condition through our Signature Care Program, which includes medication delivery, 24/7/365 on-call support, benefits and co-pay assistance and more. For more information on what Asthma medications we offer, please view the Rheumatoid Arthritis enrollment form .