Rheumatoid arthritis: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment

Written by: Dra. Marta Valero Expósito
Published: | Updated: 15/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®


What is Rheumatoid arthritis? Is the cause some factor?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease. In fact, it is the most frequent chronic inflammatory joint disease there is. It affects approximately 0.5% of the world population and, therefore, it is a frequently considered disease. The cause of this disease is not known, the last cause, but it does seem that there are genetic factors, hormonal factors, environmental factors, such as infections, and exposure factors have been described in recent years, such as exposure to tobacco. But there is no single cause, it is a set of factors that appear in an individual that triggers the disease.


What symptoms does it have? Can it appear at any age?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can really appear at any age in adult patients, because in children we talk about another type of arthritis. But it can appear in patients of 18-20 years, up to 60 patients. It is not really a disease of the elderly, it is a disease that debuts more in middle-aged people, especially in women after menopause, but it can appear at any age.The symptoms of this disease, fundamentally, are joint pain and swelling, inflammation that affects, above all, the joints of the hands, joints of the feet, but can affect knees, shoulders, elbows, almost any joint except the joints of the joints. the lumbar area, dorsal, where this disease does not usually appear. That is, it would be a disease that inflames the joints, especially hands and feet, but not so much at the level of the spine.In addition to pain and inflammation may also appear other symptoms quite common in this disease, such as fatigue and, occasionally, the appearance of other symptoms at other levels, such as nodules on the skin, such as lung problems, or problems in another location.But, fundamentally, joint inflammation is what produces the symptoms in the patient.


What treatment does it have? It can be cured?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that, in principle, has no cure, is a chronic disease. But yes with the treatments available today there is great hope because we get to have the disease with the least possible activity and avoid almost any symptoms or sequelae that, in many patients formerly, left this disease. The treatment is based on the early start of what we call disease-modifying drugs, which are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory treatments, depending on which we sometimes associate corticoids or anti-inflammatories, to control inflammation and pain of the patient. But the fundamental thing in this disease is to start a treatment by a specialist early.


How does it affect the life of the sufferer?

Rheumatoid arthritis was once a very disabling disease and currently it can be if we do not start an adequate treatment in the earliest possible way. It is a disease that, left to its evolution, tends to cause sequelae in the joints, fundamentally, but it can also cause other more serious health problems in other organs.. With the treatments that we currently have and, with an adequate approach by a specialist, it is a disease that can leave no sequelae, does not cause any disability in the patient who suffers it, and patients with this disease controlled properly, could lead a life absolutely normal.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dra. Marta Valero Expósito

Prestigious specialist in rheumatology, Dr. l. Valero Exposito is an expert in Spondylarthropathies. Actual Reumacare founding partner of the unit, serving in Northern Madrid Sanchinarro Hospital since 2007. He combines his professional work with teaching being Professor of Rheumatology at the academy CTO Medicine and the University CEU. Member of the leading scientific societies of Spain, has made numerous communications in national and international conferences and various publications that have appeared in monographs, books, journals of national and international scope.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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