Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that leads to chronic inflammation of joints.
It also involves inflammation of tissues in other parts of the body like the lungs, heart, and eyes. But most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles.
Rheumatoid arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis – What is the difference between these two?
- They are both types of arthritis but with different causes and treatments.
- Osteoarthritis is more common than Rheumatoid arthritis.
- They both share some symptoms
- Osteoarthritis usually occurs on only one side of the body, and RA occurs usually on both sides of the body but on the same joint eg. the knee joint (on different sides of the body)
- In Osteoarthritis the protective cartilage wears down gradually and bones begin to rub against one another while RA is an auto-immune disease.
- OA often affects one joint, while RA mainly affects multiple joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, unlike Osteoarthritis that causes wear-and-tear. The joint damage from Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t caused by wear and tear but by your body attacking itself.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often involves the same joints on both sides of the body. If a joint is affected in one leg, the same joint will be affected in the other leg. This is one way to distinguish Rheumatoid from Osteoarthritis (OA).
Rheumatoid arthritis Symptoms & Signs:
- Swollen warm joints
- Joint stiffness
- Weakness, fever and appetite loss
- It often affects the smaller joints first, especially finger joints and toe joints at the feet, then spreads to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders
- It can also affect non joint parts like; Skin, Eyes, Lungs, Heart and Kidneys
- With time, it causes joints to deform and shift out of place
- Symptoms usually affect the same joints on both sides of the body
- Loss of joint function
- Toes and fingers deformities may look like a curved, claw-like appearance, at times bending upwards
- RA nodules (lumps) can appear where joints are inflamed
Rheumatoid arthritis Causes:
- Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system antibodies attack the synovium (the smooth lining of a joint), this results in pain and inflammation of the synovium and with time, can destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. The tendons and ligaments holding the joint together may become weak and stretch, eventually the joint loses shape and alignment.
- Since RA is an auto-immune condition, this means that the immune system (body’s natural self-defence system) gets confused and starts to attack your body’s healthy tissues. In Rheumatoid arthritis, it does this through the inflammation in your joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis – 100% Natural Treatment | Home Remedies
- Using heat and ice packs. Cold ice packs reduce joint swelling and a heating pad relaxes stiff muscles and improves blood flow.
- Acupuncture: a natural pain remedy helps with chronic pain.
- Gentle low-impact exercises like stretching, walking and swimming are useful in lowering the swelling and pain in joints.
- Assistive devices like canes and crutches help to reduce weight impact on the joints making it easier for one to walk.
- A massage: Helps to reduce pain at the target area.
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- Gently massage the affected areas 2-3 times daily and reap GREAT benefits.
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