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RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

More than one in seven Americans experience the nagging pains and physical limitations of arthritis. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is among the most debilitating of them all, causing joints to ache and throb and eventually become deformed. Sometimes these symptoms make even the simplest things — like opening a jar or taking a walk — difficult to manage.

    Unlike osteoarthritis , which results from normal wear and tear on the joints, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition. The exact cause of it is unknown. But it's believed to be caused by the body's immune system attacking the synovium — the tissue that lines the joints.

    Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 2.5 million Americans and about 20 million in the world. It's three times more common in women than in men and generally strikes between the ages of 20 and 50. But rheumatoid arthritis also can affect very young children and adults over age 50.

    There's no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. But with proper treatment, a strategy for joint protection and changes in lifestyle, you can live a long, productive life with the condition.

Signs and Symptoms

    The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may come and go over time. They include:

    Pain and swelling in the smaller joints of your hands and feet Overall aching or stiffness of the joints and muscles, especially after sleep or after periods of rest Loss of motion of the affected joints Loss of strength in muscles attached to the affected joints Fatigue, which can be severe during a flare-up Low-grade fever Deformity of the joints as time goes on

    Rheumatoid arthritis usually causes problems in many joints at the same time. Joints in the wrists, hands, feet and ankles are the ones most often affected. The disease can also involve your elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, neck and jaw. It generally affects both sides of the body at the same time. The knuckles of both hands might be one example.

    Small lumps, called rheumatoid nodules, may form under the skin of your elbow, your hands, the back of your scalp, over your knee or on your feet and heels. These nodules can range in size — appearing as small as a pea to as large as a walnut. Usually the lumps aren't painful.

    In contrast to osteoarthritis, which affects only your bones and joints, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of tear glands, salivary glands, the lining of your heart and lungs, the lungs themselves and, in rare cases, your blood vessels.

    Although rheumatoid arthritis is often a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity — called flare-ups or flares — alternate with periods of relative remission, during which the swelling, pain, difficulty in sleeping and weakness fade or disappear.

    The flexibility of your joints may be limited by swelling or deformity. But even if you have a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, you'll probably retain flexibility in many joints. You may also have less pain than the appearance of deformed joints suggests.

Causes

    As with other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation of the joints. A membrane called the synovium lines each of your joints. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, white blood cells — whose normal job is to attack unwanted invaders such as bacteria and viruses — move from your bloodstream into your synovium. There, these blood cells appear to play an important role in causing the synovial membrane to become inflamed.

    This inflammation results in the release of proteins that, over months or years, cause thickening of the synovium. These proteins also can damage cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and alignment. Eventually, it may be destroyed.

    Some researchers thinks that rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by an infection — possibly a virus or bacterium — in people with an inherited susceptibility. Although the disease itself is not inherited, certain genes that create a susceptibility are. People who have inherited these genes will not necessarily develop rheumatoid arthritis. But they may have more of a tendency to do so than others. The severity of their disease may also depend on the genes inherited.

Medical Advice Timing

    See western or Chinese doctor if you have persistent discomfort and swelling in multiple joints on both sides of your body. Your physician can work with you to develop a pain management and treatment plan. Also seek medical advice if you experience side effects from arthritis medications. Side effects may include nausea, abdominal discomfort, black or tarry stools, changes in bowel habits, constipation or drowsiness.

Screening And Diagnosis

    Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, your doctor will likely conduct a physical examination and order laboratory tests to determine if you have this form of arthritis. A blood test that indicates your erythrocyte sedimentation rate ( "sed" rate) can indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in your body. People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have abnormally high sed rates. The sed rates in those with osteoarthritis tend to be normal.

    Another blood test looks for an antibody called rheumatoid factor. Four out of five persons with rheumatoid arthritis eventually have this abnormal antibody, although it may be absent early on in the disease. It's also possible to have the rheumatoid factor in your blood and not have rheumatoid arthritis.

    Doctors may take X-rays of your joints to differentiate between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A sequence of X-rays obtained over time can show the progression of arthritis.

Complications

    Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain and may also cause fatigue and stiffness. It can lead to difficulty with everyday tasks, such as turning a doorknob or holding a pen. Dealing with the pain and unpredictability of rheumatoid arthritis can also cause depression.

    In the past, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have ended up confined to a wheelchair because damage to joints made it difficult or impossible to walk. That's not as likely today because of better treatments and self-care methods.

Treatment

    Treatments for arthritis until today still depends on steriod for the western world, it is to help to reduce pain and to delay.

Medications

    Medications for rheumatoid arthritis can relieve its symptoms and slow or halt its progression. They include:

    Yet taking NSAIDs can lead to such side effects as indigestion and stomach bleeding. Other potential side effects may include damage to the liver and kidneys, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), fluid retention, and high blood pressure . However, there is evidence that by suppressing COX-1, NSAIDs may cause stomach and other problems because COX-1 is the enzyme that protects your stomach lining. The jury is still out, but some doctors are concerned that COX-2 inhibitors may increase a user's risk of HEART ACTTACK . Further review by the Food and Drug Administration is needed.


    Corticosteroids . These medications reduce inflammation and slow joint damage. In the short term, corticosteroids can make you feel dramatically better. But when used for many months or years, they may become less effective and cause serious side effects. Side effects may include easy bruising, thinning of bones, cataracts , weight gain, a round face, diabetes and high blood pressure . Doctors often prescribe a corticosteroid to relieve acute symptoms, with the goal of gradually tapering off the medication. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) . Physicians have begun to prescribe DMARDs to limit the amount of joint damage that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis. Taking these drugs at early stages in the development of rheumatoid arthritis is especially important in the effort to slow the disease and save the joints and other tissue from permanent damage. Because many of them act slowly (it may be weeks to months before you notice any benefit), DMARDs typically are used with a NSAID or a corticosteroid

 

CHILD RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS HERBS CURE

Rheumatoid arthritis (often called RA) is a chronic (long-standing) disease that damages the joints of the body.

ARTHRITIS HERBS TREATMENT

Rheumatoid arthritis should not be confused with other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or arthritis associated with infections. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues it is supposed to protect.

 

 

 

Malaysia Acupuncture News: THE STAR

“If patients have a phobia of needles, they can be treated with herbs alone but it depends on the problem. For example, for stroke and cerebral palsy, I have to use needles,”said Leong Hong Tole, one of the well-known acupuncturist and herbalist in Malaysia.

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