How Much Do You Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes and Treatment?

September is Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Month (RDAM). It is an initiative by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) to create awareness about several Rheumatic Diseases including Arthritis. Let us learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes and treatment.

Rheumatic disease is an auto-immune and inflammatory condition that affects the joints, bones muscles, and other organs. It is often grouped under the term Arthritis. They are usually painful, chronic, and get worse over time.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

Some causes of Rheumatic Arthritis are:

  • Genes and family history
  • Environmental triggers
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Metabolic problems
  • Injury or stress on a joint or joints

Symptoms of Rheumatic Disease:

Common symptoms of Rheumatic Disease are:

  1. Joint Pain
  2. Fatigue
  3. Swelling of the joints
  4. Joint stiffness that lasts for at least one hour in the early morning
  5. Warmth or redness in a joint area
  6. Limited movement in the affected area

A Few Common Rheumatic Diseases

1. Ankylosing Spondylitis

A common Rheumatic Disease that affects the spine is Ankylosing spondylitis. This condition affects the lower back and mostly affects young adults.

2. Fibromyalgia

A common Rheumatic Disease affecting our muscles and tendons is Fibromyalgia. It involves pain and stiffness.

3. Gout

The presence of uric acid crystals in the joints can cause Gout. It is often referred to as “big toe” characterized by frequent swelling and pain.

4. Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune rheumatic disease that starts attacking and damaging the healthy cells and tissues of our body.

5. Osteoarthritis

The most common rheumatic disease that affects older people is Osteoarthritis. It damages our cartilage and bones, often leading to disability.

6. Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis usually affects those with a psoriasis skin infection. It is an autoimmune rheumatic disease that causes pain in our fingers and toes.

7. Two Common Types of Arthritis that are Caused Due to Rheumatic Conditions:

Infectious arthritis: Caused due to bacterial or fungal infection leading to pain and inflammation. Lyme disease as a result of bacterial contact is a common example.

Reactive arthritis: It involves skin rashes, eye problems, and mouth sores, this disease is caused by an infection in the urinary tract and bowel.

How is Rheumatic Disease Diagnosed?

A single test cannot diagnose this disease. Your doctor might discuss the symptoms and recommend a few lab tests to identify the potential cause of the condition. X-rays, blood tests, CT scans, MRI scans are a few tests conducted to identify the underlying cause.

The rheumatic disease may last for a few days to several years. Once diagnosed, the doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Oral analgesics such as acetaminophen, prescription narcotics (opioids) like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
  • Topical analgesics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • In certain cases, surgeries may be recommended


Other Ways to Treat Rheumatic Disease

There are some therapeutic approaches to cure Rheumatic Disease:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Splints, braces, and assistive devices

Contact our pharmacists to know more about this disease and its treatment.