Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term inflammatory disease. It can affect many various regions of the body, but the joints are the most usually affected, producing pain and stiffness.
RA’s cause is unknown. It differs from osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent type of arthritis, in that OA arises when the cartilage that protects the joints wears down over time.
Treatment is critical in reducing RA inflammation and minimizing joint damage. Treatment often consists of a combination of drugs and non-drug approaches. In some circumstances, surgery may be required as part of the treatment.
The therapy of RA must be adapted to each individual’s unique situation, including the severity of the ailment, the efficacy of specific medications, and any side effects. In addition, treatment options may also be influenced by the individual’s other health issues, particularly those affecting the liver or kidneys. Therefore, if you have RA, you must work closely with your rheumatologist to explore your therapy options and develop a treatment plan.
TREATMENT PRINCIPLES FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
The goal of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment is to reduce symptoms, avoid joint degeneration, and improve your quality of life and functional abilities. Most joint damage caused by RA happens within the first two years of diagnosis, and it is difficult to anticipate which individuals may suffer long-term difficulties. As a result, the primary goal of RA treatment is to eliminate or reduce inflammation. However, different therapies have distinct potential side effects, so it’s critical to consider the benefits and risks. Treatments that can stop joint deterioration are generally advised for everyone with RA.
Long-term medical treatment from a clinician you trust is critical for successful RA management. This entails regular visits and tests to assess how well your treatment is working and keep an eye out for negative effects.
MEASURES IN GENERAL
Almost everyone with established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) needs medication to control their disease. However, this in no way diminishes the usefulness of nonpharmacologic (non-drug) therapy, which can improve quality of life, aid regulates symptoms, and reduce joint deterioration. The following are examples of effective therapies:
- Counseling and education — Education and therapy can assist you in better understanding the nature of RA and coping with its complications. In addition, you and your health care providers can collaborate to develop a long-term treatment plan, establish good goals, and consider both standard and alternative therapy alternatives.
- Biofeedback (a technique that teaches you to manage specific body functions) and cognitive behavioral therapy (a type of therapy in which you learn to change how you react to your circumstances) may be beneficial. These techniques can help to minimize pain and impairment while also improving self-esteem. The Arthritis Foundation in the United States and comparable organizations worldwide offer programs on themes such as self-management skills, social support, biofeedback, and psychotherapy. Many hospitals and clinics also provide these services. These programs have been demonstrated to improve pain, sadness, and impairment in RA patients and give them some control over their illness.
- Rest — Fatigue is a common RA symptom. While it is critical to rest inflamed and aching joints, physical fitness should be maintained to the greatest extent possible. Several studies have found that remaining physically active improves sleep quality, which helps with weariness.
- Exercise – Because pain and stiffness make exercising difficult, many people with RA limit their physical activity. On the other hand, inactivity can result in a loss of joint motion, contractions, and muscular strength. Weakness, in turn, reduces joint stability and adds to fatigue.
- Exercise regularly can assist in avoiding and counteracting these consequences. Many other types of exercise can be beneficial, including range-of-motion exercises to retain and restore joint motion, strength-building exercises, and endurance-building activities (walking, swimming, and cycling). Even subtle movement daily can be beneficial.
- A physical therapist can assist you if your joint difficulties make it difficult to move or be active. They can help you select acceptable forms of physical activity based on your symptoms and health. Exercise for people with arthritis is covered in greater depth elsewhere.
- Occupational and physical therapy — A physical or occupational therapist can suggest other techniques to help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and preserve joint structure and function, in addition to assisting you in designing a personalized exercise program.