Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the main types of arthritis in the UK – the other being osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. What distinguishes rheumatoid arthritis from its common counterpart is the mechanisms that cause the joint problems.
Osteoarthritis is commonly the result of an injury or overuse after an operation, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.
An autoimmune disease is a condition whereby your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling, explains the NHS.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but targeting the inflammation that spurs on rheumatoid arthritis can help to alleviate its symptoms.
What are the main medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis?
According to the NHS, if you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll usually be offered a combination of DMARD tablets as part of your initial treatment.
“These medicines ease the symptoms of the condition and slow down its progression,” says the health body.
As it explains, DMARDs work by blocking the effects of the chemicals released when your immune system attacks your joints, which could otherwise cause further damage to nearby bones, tendons, ligaments and cartilage.
The DMARDs that may be used include:
General lifestyle tips
Exercise may appear counterintuitive if you are suffering from painful joint symptoms but the opposite is true.
“There is quite a lot of evidence now that exercise can improve muscle strength, function and the ability to do everyday things as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” explains the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS).
According to NRAS, physical activity and exercise should add up to at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate intensity activity a week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
What is the optimal exercise?
In general, the activities that are suitable for people with rheumatoid arthritis are those that don’t put too much stress on the joints.
A series of studies have looked into the effect of strengthening exercises, especially in the arm and leg muscles.
Participants in the studies did exercises using light weights or strengthening equipment for 30 to 60 minutes, two to three times per week.
This improved their strength and also reduced arthritis-related limitations to an extent.
It was easier for them to do everyday tasks like getting dressed and washed or handling dishes and cutlery.
Published at Tue, 10 Nov 2020 18:56:22 +0000