Rheumatoid arthritis flare

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A doctor examines an X-ray of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. While it primarily affects joints, it can also cause inflammation of organs, such as the lungs, eyes, skin, and heart. They may also have periods of remission where they have few or no symptoms. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but medications can stop the progression of the disease and ease symptoms.

Women develop rheumatoid arthritis three times more often than men. According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1. 5 million people in the U. Women develop RA two to three times more often than men, and symptoms in women tend to appear between the ages of 30 and 60, while symptoms often develop later in life for men. There may also be a genetic basis for the disease. A boy with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis waits in a doctor’s examination room.

To ultimately be diagnosed with JRA the child’s symptoms must last at least six weeks. Several methods of treatment are available for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Most children need both medicinal and nonmedicinal treatments to relieve pain, reduce swelling, maintain full movement in their joints, and treat complications. Medication — Over-the-counter pain medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are often the first line of defense against the pain of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The most commonly prescribed DMARD for juvenile RA is methotrexate. Other drugs may be used for serious disease, including corticosteroids and biologic agents.

These medications have side effects that should be discussed with your doctor. Physical Therapy — Regular exercise designed by a physical therapist can help to retain a child’s range of motion in their joints, as well as muscle tone. This illustration shows the differences between a normal, healthy joint, a joint affected by osteoarthritis, and one affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis refers to more than 100 conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system.

The joints are the parts of the body where bones meet each other. When arthritis is present, the joints may become inflamed, stiff, red, and painful. Damage from RA may occur in tissues surrounding the joints including the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. RA is one type of arthritis classified as ‘systemic,’ meaning it can areas throughout the body. In some patients, symptoms may extend to the skin and eyes, and internal organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a very active area of worldwide research.

The exact cause of RA remains unknown, but several risk factors have been identified. Women are diagnosed with RA more often, and it is suspected estrogen may play a role. Several studies have shown there is a genetic component to developing RA. Occupational exposure to certain dusts such as silica, wood, or asbestos can also lead to a higher risk for developing the illness.

It is thought there may be a viral or bacterial infectious cause of RA but that is still being studied. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis come and go, depending on the degree of tissue inflammation. When a person with RA has symptoms including joint inflammation and pain, this is called a flare. Flares may last from weeks to months. This can alternate with periods of remission, when symptoms are minimal to nonexistent. Periods of remission can last weeks, months, or even years. After a period of remission, if the symptoms return this is called a relapse.

It is common for RA patients to have periods of flares, remissions, and relapses, and the course of the illness varies with each patient. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can include fatigue, lack of appetite, low-grade fever, muscle and joint aches, and stiffness. In addition to the hallmark symptoms of swollen, painful, and stiff joints and muscles, patients with RA may also experience other symptoms. In addition to these symptoms, muscle and joint stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis is usually worst in the morning or after extended periods of inactivity. With RA, hands are almost always affected.