Like other degenerative diseases, rheumatoid arthritis is on the increase, in fact currently this disease affects about one percent of the population of the United states and the statistics show that this figure is growing fast. Therefore it is important that an understanding of what rheumatoid arthritis is and what the signs are become well known throughout society so that sufferers can get an early diagnosis and relevant lifestyle changes be implemented before the symptoms become to serious.
If you are unlucky and the doctor informs you that you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, the news can be quite devastating. However, understanding this disease is one way that you could come to terms with it, know what to expect when and work out a plan of action to control it in the best manner you can.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Unfortunately, the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis has not yet been identified; but it is known that when this happens, the body's immune system suddenly turns against itself destroying the tissues found in and around the joints. This is why the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis includes extreme pain at the joints (this normally occurs in pairs, for example - both elbows, both knees, etc). It is also thought that the sufferer's genetics play an important role in the development of this disease. (Research is currently underway in this area of interest)
The doctor's diagnosis is done by identifying the ‘rheumatoid factor’ in the patient's blood, which is actually an antibody that indicates the presence of this debilitating disease. The association of the presence of this antibody and the typical symptoms such as pain, inflammation of the joints and movement limitation usually confirms the diagnosis. X-ray of the affected joints is also used to further confirm the existence of the disease.
This is not a disease to trifle with it is important to get an early diagnosis so that you can have it treated. Rheumatoid arthritis cant progress fast attacking not only the joints but also the more vital organs in the body - such as (the lining of) the heart, lungs and kidneys. This disease can also strike in the tear ducts and the salivary glands. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any time usually between the ages of 20 to the late 50's and unfortunately when it strikes it is very hard to get rid of.
So, if you get it, it is not the end of the world. there are medications, proper exercise and alternative treatments all designed to make the disease more manageable and your revised lifestyle pleasant. Yet another challenge on life's journey. Use the power of positive thinking, look at all the marvelous blessings you have and will experience and this disease is only another event to be conquered.
Vigilance is required particularly in relation to your diet and exercise regimes as this is the foundation of good health and a healthy immune system that will help to keep other common diseases at bay allowing your body to cope with the stresses and strains of rheumatoid arthritis.
Author's Biography: Paul Courtney contributes articles to various publications pertaining to Alternative and Herbal Medicine, for more information please visit http://www.thearthritispainreliever.com .