Rheumatoid arthritis

Definition

Chronic inflammatory disease in peripheral joints of unknown etiology

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease in the synovium, the lubricating tissue of the joint, and can potentially destroy the joints. It is considered to be due to abnormalities of the immune system, genetic factors, and inflammation. Prevalent among those in their 30s and 40s, it usually starts from the peripheral joints such as fingers and hands, and extends to the wrists, elbows, knees, and toes.

Symptoms

  • 1.Edema and fever in multiple joints
  • 2.Tenderness upon pressure on the edematous joint
  • 3.Redness around the joint
  • 4.Loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss
  • 5.Morning stiffness lasting for more than one hour

Cause

Autoimmunity is known as the main mechanism of the disease even though no specific cause was isolated. Autoimmunity means that the immune system, which is supposed to protect the body from the outside, attacks its own body.

Generally speaking, genetic factors, bacterial or viral infections, and physical or psychological stress are considered to be triggers. Relatively high rate of incidence in the early premenopausal period may suggest a hormonal effect.

Treatment

While the fundamental cause is still in study, no absolute prevention or cure is available.

Diagnosis : Clinical diagnosis by history-taking, physical examination, and X-ray

Non-surgical treatment

  • Medication
  • Physiotherapy
  • Rehabilitation exercise

Surgical treatment

  • Arthroscopic intervention
  • Bursectomy