All You Need To Know About Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a form of autoimmune disease that can cause major joint pains and damages in different parts of the body. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, the joint pains and damages caused by rheumatoid arthritis may affect both the sides of your body. Therefore if a particular joint gets affected in either of your legs or arms, the same joint of the other leg or arm will probably get affected as well. It is one of the ways in which doctors tend to distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from the other types of arthritis like osteoarthritis.
If you have been affected by rheumatoid arthritis in your legs, you should immediately visit a specialist who is able to review and treat this. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic long term disease that is characterized by symptoms of pain and inflammation in the joints. These signs and symptoms often come and go in phases that are known as flare ups. There can also be times of complete dissipation when the symptoms disappear completely. The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint pains, joint stiffness, joint swelling and loss of the joint functions. The symptoms can vary strongly from being mild to severe. If you are having this form of arthritis, it is important that you do not ignore your symptoms under any circumstances.
It is not easy to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis and your specialist may make use of different methods and techniques to see whether you are suffering from this condition. There can be a number of different conditions that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis in the feet, such as bunions, bursitis, hammer toe, Charcot arthropathy, rheumatoid nodules, Hallux valgus, plantar fasciitis and Valgus heel. Your specialist will also perform a detailed physical exam of the joints and look for redness and swelling, as well as test for muscle strength and reflexes. Blood tests may be carried out for detecting substances like antibodies and for checking levels of acute phase reactants, which can be quite high during inflammatory conditions. The blood tests that are usually advised include rheumatoid factor test, antinuclear antibody test, anti citrullinated protein antibody test, C-reactive protein test and erythrocyte sedimentation rate test. Imaging tests like x-ray exams, ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help in detecting the extent of the damage caused by the inflammations.
While there are no definitive cures for rheumatoid arthritis, specialists can recommend medications, dietary changes and specific forms of exercise to manage the condition. Some of the classes of drugs that are used for this condition include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and acetaminophen. It is to be remembered that being affected by rheumatoid arthritis does not mean that your day to day normal life has to come to a standstill. You can still manage to participate in most of the activities that you love.