Rheumatoid arthritis, or often called rheumatism, is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body and causes inflammation. In rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune attacks the joints, for example the joints on the fingers.
Rheumatoid arthritis generally attacks the joints on the hands, wrists and knees. The affected joint will become inflamed, causing prolonged pain, limited movement, and even shape changes. Besides joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also attack other parts such as the lungs, heart and eyes.
In society, rheumatoid arthritis is often associated with age or food and is misinterpreted as osteoarthritis. Yet as an autoimmune disease, the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet known with certainty. However, the risk of suffering from this disease can be increased in women, smokers, and someone with a history of offspring who have this disease.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis itself can disappear and arise, not always felt continuously. Symptoms that arise include tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite, as well as pain and stiffness in the joints. The most easily recognized signs are joint pain, swelling, redness, warmness when touched, and stiffness in the morning.
These symptoms can disappear with or without treatment for several weeks, months, even years. When symptoms subside, sufferers will usually think the disease has healed and stop treatment. Though the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can come back suddenly if the disease is in the active phase.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for actually treating rheumatoid arthritis. Therapy of this disease aims to control symptoms and reduce pain so that patients can continue to move.
Treatment options include long-term treatment to reduce symptoms and inhibit disease progression, supportive therapies such as physiotherapy, and surgery to correct damaged joints.
To control symptoms and reduce pain, you can choose treatment with pain relievers for muscles and joints, for example those containing methyl salicylate. You can also choose a cream that is equipped with menthol content to give a cold sensation in the part that is inflamed.
Indeed the most important thing in dealing with rheumatoid arthritis is early detection. If you experience complaints of stiff fingers or joint pain, you should immediately consult a doctor so that examination and therapy can be done as soon as possible.