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Rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan – physical activity helps

Jul 13th 2015 at 3:56 AM

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease which is characterized by the chronic inflammation of the joints and also other parts of the body. The symptoms and signs include swollen joints, pain in joints like hands, feet, and knees, fever, stiff joints and loss of function, joint deformity and so on.

This chronic disease is characterized by the periods of disease flares and remissions. In case of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joints are usually (but not necessarily) affected in a symmetrical pattern. Chronic inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can also cause permanent destruction or deformity of joints. Damage may occur early but it does not always correlate with the severity of the RA symptoms.

Millions of people are affected with rheumatoid arthritis. The disease is more common in women than men. Almost 80% of people with rheumatoid arthritis have “rheumatoid factor” in their blood. It is an antibody that can be easily detected with a simple blood test. Among many possible risk factors for developing RA are silica inhalation, smoking, genetic background, microbes in the bowels, and periodontal disease.

Till now, there is no known cure for RA. The treatment plan optimally includes patient education, joint protection, rest & exercise, medications and may be surgery. Medications include immunosuppressants and steroids. It can affect people of all ages. Experts suggest early RA treatment to obtain better outcomes.

In people with severe arthritis, the chronic inflammation may also lead to the destruction of the bone, ligaments and cartilage. This destructive effect is the main reason behind the deformity of the joint. Damage to the joints can occur early in the disease or may be progressive.

Physical therapy is an important part of rheumatoid arthritis treatment. The therapy has one single goal – keeping your joints moving. Exercise or physical activities stimulate the muscles, bone and joints. As a result, patients experience more strength and overall fitness. The therapy should start as early as possible in order to impart functionality to your joints. During the course of the treatment, therapists do the initial examination and document where you are in the terms of function, strength and fitness. Depending on your conditions, they can plan a treatment that would work best for your condition. The therapist can use a number of strategies to ensure you get maximum relief from that plan.

In addition, you need motivation and encouragement to get the maximum benefit out of your rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan. It should not be missed if you want to keep yourself fit and healthy.

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