Everything Seniors Need to Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic illness, is infamous for causing great pain in its victims. While this disease is typically known for affecting people between the ages of 30 and 60, it can cause exceptional pain for those who are over the age of 60. It is a disease that becomes more common with age and is ultimately one that every senior is at risk of contracting. 

While the pain that is caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis can be sudden and extreme, there are, fortunately, many ways in which the disease’s symptoms can be kept under control. Let’s take a look at the most effective RA Treatments available that can make living with Rheumatoid Arthritis that much easier for seniors. 

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What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

This is an autoimmune disorder that causes swollen and painful joints. When someone contracts this disease, their antibodies mistake their internal joint fluid for a foreign substance, causing the antibodies to attack this joint fluid. This is the source of the pain that victims feel.

Unlike regular arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the entire body. Today, there are more than 1.3 million people in the US living with this disease, with women being more commonly affected than men. Thankfully, because this disease has become so common, so many pain treatments have been developed in recent years. 

What Are This Disease’s Symptoms?

Because this disease primarily affects the joints, the first sign of having rheumatoid arthritis is severe joint pain. You may also start to feel a warm sensation in areas that are affected by this disease, such as your hands, elbows, feet, and knees. Other common symptoms include inflamed and tender joints as well as joint stiffness. These symptoms make it difficult to exercise, and in extreme cases, even make simple movements challenging.

One of the characteristics of this disease that makes it so important to treat early on is the fact that it can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. This will result in more extreme symptoms, such as tendon erosion and even less ability to move.

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What RA Treatments Are Available? 

Unfortunately, this chronic disease is ultimately incurable. This does not mean, however, that you cannot treat the symptoms in a way that will slow down the disease’s progression and also limit the pain that you are likely to experience. 

One of the more popular forms of RA Treatments is medication. Below are a number of available medications that you can take to manage RA symptoms:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): these types of drugs are aimed at reducing pain and inflammation, and may also reduce swelling in the process. What’s great about these drugs is that many of them are available over-the-counter, so a prescription may not be needed.
  • Corticosteroids: These are a type of anti-inflammatory medications that are designed to control joint pain and inflammation in a timeous manner.
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS): As the name suggests, these medications modify the disease itself in order to slow down its progression. If you have a hard time swallowing pills, you can also take this medication by way of infusion or injection.
  • Biologics: These medications are similar to DMARDS, but instead target inflammation. They have the ability to modify, slow down, or even stop RA, but require a prescription to purchase

With such a variety of medications available, you can effectively treat a number of RA symptoms that may be affecting your body. In fact, existing sufferers of RA often use multiple medications in order to treat their symptoms. In order to reap the full benefits of the above medications, make sure to consult with your doctor as soon as possible to diagnose the issue while it is still in its early stages.

Alternative RA Treatment Options

While medication may tackle a large portion of the pain, there are other forms of treatment that can help treat the symptoms that medication does not.

To best manage the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that you may be suffering from, you could find yourself adopting a combination of medical and alternative treatments.

  • Stretching and Exercise: doing the correct kinds of exercise could help alleviate some symptoms. For example, swimming could help strengthen the muscles around any affected joint. Exercise can prove detrimental if the wrong routines are adopted, however. Make sure to consult your doctor in order to develop a safe exercise regimen.
  • Hot and Cold Packs: applying heat and ice packs to the affected areas of the body can provide temporary pain relief. Whether you will need hot packs or cold packs, or a combination of both, will depend on the RA symptoms that you are suffering from.
  • Changes to Diet: it is advisable to incorporate as many fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and vegetables into your diet as possible. This is because plant-based foods can reduce inflammation, which is often the biggest source of pain when suffering from RA. 
  • Supplements: getting the right nutrients can greatly improve your well-being when dealing with RA. Omega-3 fatty acids, frankincense, and turmeric can all be used to reduce inflammation. Food like yogurts, cheese, and pickles contain probiotics that may also help reduce RA symptoms.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

While Rheumatoid Arthritis is not entirely curable, it is still possible to continue living without suffering from its painful symptoms. It is just important to adopt the most effective treatment methods as early as possible in order to do so. 

Make sure to consult with your doctor about the latest RA Treatments available. Medical advancements are being made all the time, so it would be beneficial to remain in the know about the latest treatments being released to the market. By staying aware and taking action to treat this chronic disease, you can limit your pain and maintain a decent quality of life while living with RA.

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