Rheumatoid arthritis: symptoms, causes and treatments

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a rheumatic autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and affects the entire body. It usually affects the joints on both sides of the body. So, if you have rheumatoid arthritis of the joints of one leg or hand, the high probability of diseases of the joints and the other. Therefore, experts draw the line between RA and other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis. In women, the predisposition to the disease is higher than in men.

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis effectively at an early stage, so it is important to know what symptoms indicate its development.

rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis: symptoms and treatment

Causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unknown and are the subject of research worldwide. The disease is considered to be viruses, bacteria and fungi, but it is certainly not proven. There is a version on which the predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis can be hereditary. Certain environmental factors can trick the immune system and cause it to attack tissues of the body. Immune cells, or lymphocytes, secrete chemicals that cause inflammation.

RA happens in adults and in children. Child rheumatoid arthritis is called juvenile and affects children under the age of 16.

The disease is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • painful, inflamed joints;
  • stiffness, especially in the morning and after the activity;
  • fatigue, fever and weight loss.

First, the inflammation goes on the small joints – in particular, those that connect the fingers and toes with the hands and feet. Progressing, rheumatoid arthritis affects the wrists, knees, ankle, elbows, hip and shoulder joints.

About 40% of people with rheumatoid arthritis experience pain not only in joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also spread to the:

  • skin;
  • eye;
  • light;
  • heart;
  • kidneys;
  • glands;
  • nervous tissue;
  • bone marrow;
  • blood vessels.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can vary in severity, appear and disappear. Periods of exacerbation alternating with remission when inflammation and pain disappear. After some time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause deformation and displacement of the affected joints.

Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis

diagnosis of arthritis

The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis can take some time and tests to confirm the symptoms and prescribing the right treatment.

The first stage is preliminary examination and history taking. Joints will be tested for the presence of redness, swelling, pain. Will be tested reflexes and muscle strength. If you suspect RA, the patient goes to a rheumatologist.

A blood test in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in adults:

  • Analysis of rheumatoid factor – high levels of this protein tells about RA;
  • Antibodies to cyclic citrulline peptide (ACCP) – the presence of these antibodies indicates a possible RA. A positive result, however, is not always the indicator;
  • Antinuclear antibodies – identifies, develops if the immune system antibodies;
  • The erythrocyte sedimentation rate — detects the degree of inflammation without indicating the reasons;
  • C-reactive protein is a serious infection or inflammation in the body causes the liver to produce C-reactive protein.

Also are used for diagnostic ultrasound and MRI they help to determine the severity of joint damage.

How to treat rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. Modern medicine hasn't found him drugs. Medications only help manage pain and control inflammation. The result is remission. Reducing inflammation does not allow the inflammation to spread further and affect other organs.

Treatment of RA includes the following areas:

  • medications;
  • alternative or home treatment;
  • changing my diet;
  • gymnastics.

After the examination, the specialist must determine what to treat the disease best.



Drugs against RA are divided into several types. Some of them help to relieve pain and inflammation, others help during an exacerbation. Pain and inflammation help the following medications:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • Corticosteroids;
  • Acetaminophen.

These medications slow down damage to the body from RA:

  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (BMAC) – inhibit the reaction of the immune system and slow down the progression of RA;
  • Biological is a new generation of drugs. They don't block the immune system fully, only where there is inflammation. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with new generation drugs is effective for those who are regular BMAC not help;
  • Inhibitors of Janus Kinase (JAK) – a new subcategory of medicines. They block certain reactions of the immune system. Assigned to the ineffectiveness of traditional and biological drugs.

Home treatment of rheumatoid arthritis folk remedies


Exercises with a low intensity will improve the mobility of your joints. Gymnastics strengthen the muscles, they will remove some of the load from the joints. Try some yoga – you will regain strength and flexibility.


In the period of exacerbation is essential enough rest. Healthy sleep will help reduce pain and inflammation, relieve fatigue.


They can be hot and cold – and those and others are effective against inflammation. In addition, they are effective against muscle spasms. You can alternate the hot compress with a cold. This will help make the joints movable.

treatment assignment


Diet for RA involves the consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fats. These can be fish, nuts. Berries, green tea, grapes and broccoli contain flavonoids – these elements are also important.

If you are thinking where to treat arthritis at home or in the clinic, check with your doctor. It all depends on the extent of damage to joints. Sometimes enough therapy and medications.

If these methods are ineffective and the inflammation continues, the doctor may recommend surgical intervention. The operation entails certain risks, so you need to weigh the pros and discuss them with your doctor.