What is rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune that only affects the joints, but the whole immune system.
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Brain?
Many people who have Rheumatoid arthritis also experience fatigue, dry eyes, and mouth, shortness of breath, and skin problems. The good news is, with the advancement of Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments, many people can live a healthy, normal life. Let’s take a deep look.
WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE?
The immune system, many people are aware of this. It acts as a good force that is out there to keep your body safe. So it’s always watching out for and taking care of bad actors and infections, and even cancer. If you have viruses, and bacteria that are affecting your body, it’s your immune system that fights off these bed actors and makes your body healthy again. That’s what a healthy immune system does. But sometimes the immune system turns against its self instead of just watching out and taking out bad actors, it’s coming out and damaging or destroying its self. This is the meaning of the term Autoimmunity.
Rheumatoid Arthritis a chronic, which means lifelong arthritis involving joints, and Autoimmune arthritis means, the immune system which is causing damage and destruction to the joints. However, Rheumatoid Arthritis is much more than the joints only because it can involve the other parts of the body as well such as the skin, lungs, eyes, etc.
When a person has Rheumatoid Arthritis particularly if it is untreated, they have ongoing inflammation in the body. When you think about chronic ongoing inflammation, like a chronic fire but not inflame, you have to put it out, and if you don’t it’s gonna cause damage and destruction. So the person’s experience is not only pain, stiffness that is directed in their joints. These symptoms include fatigue. Fatigue is a very common presentation of people with Autoimmune diseases, so they may feel unusually tired, not able to do things that they would want to do on a typical day. As mentioned earlier it can experience symptoms in their lungs, they can have a chronic cough, chronic shortness of breath and inflammation can affect their lungs as well.
DOES RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AFFECT THE BRAIN?
The answer is NO. Because the joints are most commonly affected by Rheumatoid arthritis. Followed by the part of the eyes known as the sclera, in that case, it is called scleroma. It also affects the cornea which is called corneal melt. It can affect the lungs, causing rheumatoid nodules due to which oxygenation is impaired and affects the heart. It results in a fluid collection in the lungs, called serositis, the same condition happens in the heart called pericardial effusion. Rheumatoid Arthritis affects the blood causing anemia and also impact the spleen, an organ involved in the immune system.
IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS CURABLE?
Currently, we don’t have a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis over the last decade and a half there have been quite amazing advances in our understanding of Rheumatoid Arthritis and this has led to the development of better treatments. So your aim should be remission.
Clinically, the meaning of remission is you have an absence of signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, that you feel well with minimal side effects despite needing to take medication and all blood tests are normal Rheumatoid Arthritis is a serious disease, it does not have an exact cure but there are effective treatments.
EXERCISE FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)
Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA affects more than 1 million Americans, and people live with chronic pain. Exercise can help.
Exercise is an important part of the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Exercise improves fatigue, improves the strength of muscle and it improves the function of joints. It can improve the pain as well is an important part of general health and general well-being.
These are the guidelines to follow:
- Create an individualized plan: Plan any exercise program that a person with Rheumatoid Arthritis undergoes should really be individualized to that person. People have different health problems they have different locations where the RA has affected and a physician can help individualize the program to further benefit the person. Another important aspect of exercise that needs to be individualized is the person’s baseline so running a marathon is very different from one other who’s mostly sedentary in general at their time of diagnosis but exercise can benefit all people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Work with a physiotherapist: People with Rheumatoid Arthritis can have involvement of their hands or their knees or other joints of the body depending on which joints are involved specific exercises may be beneficial. A physical therapist who works with larger joints of the body or an occupational therapist who specialized in hand therapy can help provide an exercise program that can specifically strengthen the problematic areas.
- Find activities you enjoy: There is a lot of different exercises that you can do and it should be if you are going to stick with it and continue this program. It should be something you enjoy doing different kinds of exercise include; running, walking, cycling, some people enjoy yoga or pilates and many different activities you can do that will help improve your cardiac state and make your joints strong.
- Set attainable goals: It is very discouraging if you don’t hit the goals that you set so a certain reality should take place when you are setting goals for yourself and a physical therapist may be a unique position to help you set those physical goals. The goals depend on your physical condition and it varies from one other. For a person who really has been sedentary for years who’s just getting started on an exercise, program goals would be modest and include possibly at the beginning, doing exercise for 10 minutes a day and slowly increasing to 20 minutes a day and then continuing on from there for the person who’s baseline status was more active than that it may be jogging or walking at a slower pace would be an initial goal and then a faster pace and so on.
- Stick with it: in terms of the exercise program, it is really important to stick with it because continued use of joints and continued exercise will continue to improve health and well-being as well as fatigue and function with everyday health.
Hope all the information may help those who are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA). Apart from that, most importantly pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints are symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. But these symptoms come and go, the condition can sometimes be tricky to diagnose. So, it is important to diagnose at the right time because starting treatment early can make good results.
Dr. Jase Neo earned his MS and Phd degree from Columbia University. His interests are centered in general health, mental health, and he is also an accredited cognitive behavioural psychotherapist. He has written articles on the connection between socioeconomic status and health, homelessness, violence, stigma, and discrimination. Now he is researching health disparities by race or ethnicity and socioeconomic status.