What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of autoimmune arthritis. More than 1 million cases reported per year only in India. Out of these, most of the cases are associated with women. Rheumatoid arthritis mostly affect the young or old aged people but apart from age factor it can be reported in any age of people.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, progressive and characterized by synovial inflammation and hyperplasia, auto antibody production, cartilages, bones deformity and disorders related to pulmonary, cardiovascular, psychological and skeleton system.

Joints affected by Rheumatoid arthritis:

In rheumatoid arthritis, any of body joint get affected. But in early RA stage joints affected commonly are:

  • Small joints of hand and feet
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Shoulder
  • Knee
  • Ankle

Classification criteria for Rheumatoid arthritis:

The American college of Rheumatology provided ACR-EULAR Classification. According to ACR-EULAR classification, patients need at least 6 points or presence of joint erosions to be classifies as rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptom Score
Joint involvement
1 medium-large joint 0
2-10 medium-large joints 1
1-3 small joints (with or without involvement of large joints) 2
4-10 small joints (with or without involvement of large joints) 3
>10 joints (at least one small joint) 5
Serology (0-3)
Negative rheumatoid factor and negative anti-citrullinated protein antibodies 0
Low positive rheumatoid factor or low positive anti-citrullinated protein antibodies 2
High positive rheumatoid factor or high positive anti-citrullinated protein antibodies 3
Acute phase reactants
Normal C reactive protein and normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate 0
Abnormal C reactive protein or abnormal erythrocyte sedimentation rate 1
Duration of symptoms
< 6 weeks 0
≥ 6 weeks 1

Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

The actual cause of Rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown. In Rheumatoid arthritis, Immune system of person attacks its own body tissues or cells. Other factors associated with Rheumatoid arthritis are Genes (Genetic factor), Environment and Hormones.

How to diagnosis Rheumatoid arthritis:

To be diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis consults to your family physician or rheumatologist. Disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis must be diagnosed under the supervision of rheumatologist. To diagnose Rheumatoid arthritis, doctors use medical history, X-rays, CT-Scan, physical exam and lab tests of patients.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis may involve:

  • Change in lifestyle
  • Medicines
  • Surgery

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