Rheumatoid Arthritis - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

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Dr. Shakaib Sajid Qureshi


24 Years of Experience

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Dr. Muhammad Usman Amir


20 Years of Experience

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Dr. Aamir Saeed


12 Years of Experience

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Dr. Syed Ahmed Mustafa


27 Years of Experience

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Dr. Khalid Parvez Babar


9 Years of Experience

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Prof. Dr. Saera Suhail Kidwai

Internal Medicine

12 Years of Experience

Summary about Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory painful disorder that majorly affects the joints. But in some cases, this disorder can damage a wide variety of body systems such as skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. It is a notorious autoimmune disorder and occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the person’s self-body tissues. It may happen due to some reaction against some chemical but it is still a topic to reveal.

This is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own organs and tissues.

Mostly it remains with the patient when it comes once. The management methods like medication, specific exercises and healthy diet plans may only reduce the severity of the illness. Only permanent curing method is the surgery or implants.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Major symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include any of the following:

  • Tender, warm, red, swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness. more worst in the morning hours
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

More than one-third of those who suffer from this disease encounter symptoms of the disease that are not directly related to the joints. These symptoms usually manifest on these body parts

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Salivary glands
  • Nerve tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The immune system attacking the outer layer of the membranes around the joints basically causes rheumatoid arthritis. This lining is called synovium. After this attack, the lining swells and inflammation occurs. This can seriously damage, and even destroy, the joint’s cartilage and the section of bone in it.

Consequently, the tendons and ligaments setting up the joint deteriorate and stretch. So, steadily the joint’s shape and alignment is further and further compromised.

Doctors have not been able to identify what triggers this sequence of event. However, it is likely that there is a genetic aspect to it. Even though genes do not actively initiate this process, they can make the individual more vulnerable to factors in the surroundings that could potentially activate the disease.

Risk Factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The feminine sex has a higher vulnerability to develop rheumatoid arthritis. While the condition can occur any time in life, the age group which is the most at risk is the middle age. Those people who have a relative that has rheumatoid arthritis are also at a higher risk for contracting the disease.
Research has shown that smoking also elevates the risk, especially if the smoker already has a genetic susceptibility to get the disease. Smoking can also make the disease more severe. 

Environmental exposure to chemicals or substances like asbestos or silica could also heighten the risk. Furthermore, workers who are exposed to rubble can also develop this disease.

Obese and/or overweight people, particularly women who are younger than 55 years, are also more vulnerable to fall prey to rheumatoid arthritis.

Preventive Measures of Rheumatoid Arthritis

As smoking is counted as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis, giving up cigarette can greatly reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. This is why smokers suffering from this disease should give up smoking or at least lessen it as much as possible. Taking in a recommended quantity of calcium and vitamin D have also helped a lot. Furthermore, research also recommends drugs or medications that diminish bone loss. Lastly, consulting the doctor is of utmost import as he/she can prescribe medications that can manage this condition.

Types of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Seropositive. Seropositive rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by the prevalence of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCPs) in the blood of the sufferer. These chemicals are known as anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) as well. These antibodies basically attack the internal body organs and consequently produce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Seronegative. The second kind of rheumatoid arthritis is seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. This condition is characterized by the absence of antibodies in the blood.

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