What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition primarily affecting the joints. Typically it causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Many joints in the body can be affected, most commonly the hands and feet. The exact cause is unknown and typically rheumatoid arthritis affects more women than men. It can occur at any age but most commonly occurs between ages of 40-50 years. Although there is no known cure at present there are many treatment options available
Doctors use a combination of your symptoms, physical examination findings, blood tests and X-rays to diagnose the condition.
There are many drug treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis, some of which help with symptoms in the short terms and others that treat the underlying arthritis.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis will typically be referred to physiotherapists not long after diagnosis to be given advice on exercise and joint protection.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a variable condition and it can be useful to know how to manage a flare in symptoms without always having to consult a doctor.