Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disease, mainly affecting the joints, which are peculiar to chronic with exacerbations. The disease affects people at any age, even children (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), but more often after age 40, women are exposed to it to a greater extent than men.
The causes of rheumatoid arthritis
The primary cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a failure in the immune system. Because you failed cells of this system are beginning to respond to the body's own tissues, as foreign and destroy them. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune cells aggressively react primarily on synovial tissue (the tissue lining the inside of the joint capsule) and joint cartilage.
The reason for this failure of the immune system remains unclear. There are factors that contribute to the beginning of an autoimmune response, although a direct link between them and rheumatoid arthritis is not established. These factors include:
- Viral infection;
- Hereditary predisposition (cases of rheumatic disease among close relatives);
- The presence of chronic diseases;
- Transferred stress;
- Excessive exercise;
- Long stay in a damp and cold.
Currently, doctors are inclined to believe that there is a genetic defect, triggered into action by an infectious agent, in the presence of predisposing factors, that is the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a set of conditions.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
The disease begins as an ordinary arthritis, often with symmetrical lesions of the joints of the limbs. Exhibit all the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: pain in the affected joint, swelling, limited mobility, the joint becomes hot to the touch. Sometimes these events are accompanied by a deterioration of general condition: fever, weakness, loss of appetite, etc. In some cases, rheumatic fever may have been exposed and unmatched joints, or one joint that is atypical and difficult to diagnose.
Characteristic symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is morning stiffness of the joints, the formation of small subcutaneous seals in the joints, the so-called "rheumatoid nodules." For rheumatoid arthritis tend paroxysmal for rheumatic attacks are replaced by a period of remission of the disease. With the progression of the disease occurs gradually deformation of the joint, because of which it loses its function, muscle strength weakened limbs. In advanced cases, the affected joints completely obezdvizhevayutsya by replacement of normal joint tissues rough scar tissue develops ankylosis (fusion surfaces) of the joint, and there comes a disability.
Rheumatic process does not only affect the joint tissue, it is only the first and more exposed to destruction. In rheumatoid arthritis also affects internal organs, particularly organs often cardiovascular system (rheumatic pericarditis), nervous, digestive and others. Some forms of the disease generally advantageously affect the internal organs, to a lesser extent affecting joint tissue (visceral form of rheumatoid arthritis).
The disease, whose symptoms are manifested in children (under 16 years), called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In general, it is characterized by the same symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as adults, including the defeat of the internal organs. Unlike juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in that it is usually not inherent strong pain syndrome, and after one or more attacks may occur spontaneous recovery, although not necessarily. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis often causes deformation of limbs as the affected joint can either slow down or speed up its growth in comparison with healthy joints.
Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is quite complex, and is carried out in several stages. Doctors can speak with confidence about the nature of rheumatoid disease only after five rheumatic attacks and validation monitoring the course of the disease and methods of laboratory diagnostic X-ray examinations. Spend immunological study of blood, the so-called Revmoproby that can detect the presence of specific antibodies and immune complexes. With the help of X-ray images evaluated the extent and nature of the destruction of the affected joint. A typical symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is a specific type of deformation the inner surfaces of the joint - uzuriruyuschaya deformation.
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis consists of medication, means of non-drug, and in the case of joint ankylosis resorting to surgery, during which time the affected joint is replaced by an artificial one. And often unsuccessfully resorted to treatment of rheumatoid arthritis folk remedies.
Drug treatment of rheumatoid arthritis includes:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) allow to remove the acute symptoms of inflammation, pain and swelling;
- Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also intended to reduce inflammation;
- Basic drugs. An extensive group of pharmaceuticals, the effect of which is to protect the joint, preventing its degradation and promoting the regeneration of damaged tissue.
Drug-free non-surgical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis receiving supplements of drugs, and in periods of remission of the disease helps to restore the normal function of the affected joints. For this purpose, widely used means of physical therapy, physiotherapy, orthotics, help joint function, acupuncture and correction of lifestyle, which is of great importance for achieving sustained remission.
Medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids, have many undesirable side effects, especially with prolonged use. This presents a problem because the treatment of autoimmune diseases are usually long and hard. Therefore, quite often resort to treatment of rheumatoid arthritis folk remedies. For example, widely used decoctions and infusions of herbs, both in the form of teas, and local - in the form of baths, compresses and lotions to the affected joints, aching joints used wrapping leaves of medicinal plants. There are data on the use of tar and mummy. The use of rheumatoid arthritis folk remedies hardly able to cure the disease completely, but helps to relieve acute inflammation, much easier than the condition of the patient, and reduces the pill burden.