Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis that has been affecting millions of American men, women, and children. It is an autoimmune disorder and it is most commonly found in women two to three times more than in men which usually occurs between the ages of forty and sixty.
As compared to Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis not only affects the joints, it also affects the skin, eyes, blood, heart, nerves, lungs, and more. It is characterized by symmetry, meaning that if the one knee joint is afflicted with the disease, chances are the other knee will be affected too. And because of this, rheumatoid arthritis is much easier to diagnose and detect than osteoarthritis. If not properly treated, this autoimmune condition can reduce the life expectancy of a person. However, with the continuous innovation in the field of medicine today, current treatment looks promising and there have been fewer cases of issues outside the joints and people being treated are living longer.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Typically, rheumatoid arthritis starts in the small joints of the hands and feet, as pain is most intense usually in the morning that sometimes involves both hands. Treatment for this autoimmune condition typically includes medications, anti-inflammatories, and chemotherapy. People afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to heart issues two times more compared to those who are free of the disease. This autoimmune condition can cause chronic low-grade inflammation that can result to damages in the blood vessels and greatly amplify the risk of stroke and heart disease.
A small percentage (10%) of people affected with rheumatoid arthritis can develop serious respiratory disease, as the most common issues are inflammation in the lining of the lungs that makes breathing painful, scarring of lung tissue and a greater risk for emphysema. Taking prescription drugs is the most common treatment in order to reduce the inflammation. People with rheumatoid arthritis are no different from people suffering from any other chronic condition as they are also vulnerable to depression, stress, and other mood swings. And anti-depressant drugs are typically prescribed for mood swings.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause vasculitis, and this can happen when the blood vessels become inflamed, narrowing them and reducing the blood flow. This could easily lead to coronary artery disorder if the blood flow is any way blocked to the legs, arms, and nerves. For severe cases of vasculitis, steroids are prescribed and some form of chemotherapy. This will greatly reduce tissue damage and inflammation.
Other possible diseases or conditions that can be associated with rheumatoid arthritis include peripheral neuropathy, carpal tunnel, and Felty’s syndrome. At present, there are possible alternative cure options for people who have rheumatoid arthritis in order to reduce or even prevent inflammation and pain, greatly improve motor joints functions and reduce side effects from conventional medications. And among these alternative treatments is chiropractic care, as it can alleviate the need for pain medications and in some cases can complete remove the necessity of taking medications. Among the treatments being utilized to treat rheumatoid arthritis aside from spinal manipulation include massage, TENS units, hot and cold therapy, nutritional, and herbal remedies.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan