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Broad Health Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 23, 2010 at 9:07 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Broad Health Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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What is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Since rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive disease, it's important to diagnose it early. An early diagnosis can go a long ways toward easing the painful symptoms of the disease and prevent or delay future complications.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the joints. It causes the cartilage to break down, eventually leaving the bones unsupported and grating against each other. Rheumatoid arthritis is most commonly found among women ages 35 to 50 and can cause irreversible damage.

Broad Health Impact of R.A.

There are many possible health impacts of rheumatoid arthritis. Below is a list of common problems associated with R.A.

Joint Damage and Disfigurement

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause severe joint damage and may eventually disfigure the joints. Joints may become stiff and sore and lose flexibility. Eventually rheumatoid arthritis can destroy the joint completely, leading to deformity and disability. Fingers may become gnarled and deformed, turning sideways and rupturing tendons .

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is an inflammatory condition that most often affects the tear and saliva glands, resulting in dry eyes and mouth. It is a common side effect found in those with R.A. Some may also experience dryness of the nose, throat, vagina, and skin. Further complications of Sjogren's syndrome are rare. This is usually an uncomfortable, but tolerable condition.

Rheumatic Nodules

These may form under the skin near certain pressure points and may be very small or fairly large, almost the size of a golf ball. A doctor may remove a rheumatic nodule if it is considerably painful.

Emotional Symptoms

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis experience some form of anxiety or depression . Since the disease can be so debilitating, frustration and stress are common. In order to cope with long term rheumatoid arthritis, it is necessary to learn pain management techniques and coping skills. Consider a therapist or support group if you are having trouble coping with your R.A.

Other Ways Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Body

R.A. can cause any number of problems in the body. Those with rheumatoid arthritis must be careful to prevent or postpone the onset of osteoporosis, heart disease, anemia, and lung disease. It's important to maintain a healthy outlook on life, in order to adopt a lifestyle you can manage with your R.A. Fatigue is a common symptom of R.A. and should be carefully monitored; don't push yourself too hard. Pay attention to your body and listen when it's hurting. Be sure to exercise regularly at a moderate pace, maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress as much as possible.

Sources:

http://www.insidera.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020/DSECTION=1

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