What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body's tissues are mistakenly attacked by their own immune system. The immune system contains a complex organization of cells and antibodies designed normally to "seek and destroy" invaders of the body, particularly infections. Patients with autoimmune diseases have antibodies and immune cells in their blood that target their own body tissues, where they can be associated with inflammation. While joint tissue inflammation and inflammatory arthritis are classic RA features, the disease can also cause extra-articular inflammation and injury in other organs.
Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Even though infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi have long been suspected, none has been proven as the cause. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a very active area of worldwide research. It is believed that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetically inherited (hereditary). Certain genes have been identified that increase the risk for rheumatoid arthritis. It is also suspected that certain infections or factors in the environment might trigger the activation of the immune system in susceptible individuals. This misdirected immune system then attacks the body's own tissues. This leads to inflammation in the joints and sometimes in various organs of the body, such as the lungs or eyes.
It is not known what triggers the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Regardless of the exact trigger, the result is an immune system that is geared up to promote inflammation in the joints and occasionally other tissues of the body. Immune cells, called lymphocytes, are activated and chemical messengers (cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor/TNF, interleukin-1/IL-1, and interleukin-6/IL-6) are expressed in the inflamed areas.
- CRRT-Cell Repair & Regeneration therapy- a German Technology uses special magnetic pulses that help in reduction of inflammation and pain. This helps significantly in combating Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Cryotherapy is understood to be a highly effective treatment for muscle and joint pain. Cryotherapy has been shown to decrease pain for sufferers of many musculoskeletal conditions including lower back pain, knee and hip injuries, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A study of rheumatoid arthritis patients reported the one variable that showed definite improvement with Cryotherapy was pain levels. Patients report less pain following cryotherapy; this leads to improved function and quality of life.
According to a NCBI research publication, cryotherapy reduces the inflammatory processes thought to decrease macrophage infiltration and the accumulation of TNF-α, NF-κB, TGF-β and MMP-9 mRNA levels. The study confirmed that cryotherapy could have a beneficial effect on inflammatory process, without affecting the regeneration process.
A 2014 systematic review concluded that cryotherapy should be included in Rheumatoid Arthritis therapeutic strategies as an adjunct therapy. The results are potential corticosteroid and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug dose reductions.
- ACOWAVE ESWT- Radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy is beneficial for patients with rheumatoid arthritis with arthralgia, according to research published online June 30 in Pain Practice.
- There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis in conventional treatment approach.
- To date, the goal of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce joint inflammation and pain, maximize joint function, and prevent joint destruction and deformity.
- Early medical intervention has been shown to be important in improving outcomes.
- Aggressive management can improve function, stop damage to the joints.
- Optimal RA treatment involves a combination of medicines, rest, joint-strengthening exercises, joint protection, and patient (and family) education. Treatment is customized according to many factors such as disease activity, types of joints involved, general health, age, and patient occupation.