Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day
Sore Today for Stronger Tomorrow!
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system attacks and damages the linings of its own joints, causing inflammation, joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. People all over the world are affected by RA. In India, the prevalence is estimated to be 0.7%, with approximately 10 lakh people suffering from this type of arthritis. Although men can be affected, it is much more common in women due to hormonal imbalances or changes they experience. If untreated, RA can cause cartilage and bone damage, causing joints to shift out of place and, in some cases, become permanently deformed. Let's Join hands and spread Awareness on this rheumatoid arthritis awareness day.
Origin Of The Disease
People of all ages are affected by Rheumatoid arthritis, which has been known to humans since the dawn of time. The illness was uncommon before the 1600s. British rheumatologist Dr. Alfred Baring Garrod first coined the term "rheumatoid arthritis" in 1859. Traditional treatments like leaching and bloodletting were the only options in the days of yore. Around 1988, methotrexate treatments first became available. A few months or weeks later, the illness may recur for some people after going into remission. Medicines containing heavy metals are beginning to show some promise.
Significance Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day
Increasing Awareness is the First step in healing.
Every year, on February 2nd, Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day is observed. The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation created it in 2013. In reality, studies have shown that a lack of patient education and public knowledge regarding RA can result in gaps in medical care and prevent patients from seeking essential medical advice, which leads to ineffective therapy. The main theme of this day is to raise Awareness about the condition and fight it. This day is significant because it allows many people who are affected by RA to learn about treatment and early diagnosis.
RA Awareness Day has its own ribbon symbol to increase Awareness, strengthen RA education, and foster empathy for those who deal with this chronic illness. Its distinguishing colors are indigo and gold, which have a common theme.
- The body of the ribbon is indigo, which is meant to stand for wisdom, knowledge, and infinity, emphasizing the importance of education and Awareness in combating misunderstood illnesses.
- The ribbon's gold lining stands for victory and hope. People who have been diagnosed with RA and are still hoping for a quick cure will be encouraged by this more cheerful color.
Characteristic Manifestation Of RA
People with RA frequently experience swelling, pain, and warmth in the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankle joints. If a joint on one side of the body is affected, the same joint on the opposite side is also usually affected. Morning stiffness or stiffness after rest, fatigue, low-grade fever, and weight loss may occur. Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms aren't limited to the joints because they can affect other organs.
Does Age Really Matter?
Typically, there is a misconception that Rheumatoid Arthritis is an 'older age disease.' RA usually appears between the ages of 30 and 60. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, can affect anyone at any age. Young-onset rheumatoid arthritis (YORA) affects children and young adults between the ages of 16 and 40. Later-onset rheumatoid arthritis (LORA) occurs in people who develop symptoms after the age of 60.
Kids can also be affected; the most common kind of arthritis in children under the age of 17 is rheumatoid arthritis. Also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), the development of this disease is unknown because it's unclear what triggers the immune system to overreact. It may be influenced by both heredity and environmental factors.
Risk Factors Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
A number of risk factors cause rheumatoid arthritis. Some of them are given below:
- Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and worsens the disease.
- Obesity: Being Obese can raise the risk of developing RA.
- Age: The onset of RA can occur at any age, but the probability increases with age. Adults in their sixties are most likely to develop RA.
- Family history: You are more likely to get RA if you have a close relative who already has it.
- Gender: Women are two to three times more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis.
- Infertility: Women who never gave birth are at an increased risk of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Genetics: Individuals born with certain genes HLA (human leukocyte antigen) class II genotypes are more likely to develop RA.
Early Detection Is The Key
Your healthcare provider may refer you to a rheumatologist, a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating arthritis. RA is diagnosed by reviewing symptoms and your medical history, blood tests, and imaging tests. It is preferable to diagnose RA early, within six months of the onset of symptoms, so patients can begin treatment to slow or stop disease progression.
The blood tests look for signs of rheumatoid arthritis, such as inflammation and blood proteins (antibodies),
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Cyclic Citrullinated Proteins (CCP)
- Rheumatoid Factor (RF)
Your rheumatologist may order imaging tests such as MRI, Ultrasounds, and X-rays to look for signs that your joints are deteriorating. Rheumatoid arthritis can wear down the ends of the bones in your joints.
Goals In Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
For most of the autoimmune diseases, there is no cure for the condition. We can, however, manage RA with proper lifestyle habits and medication. The primary goal of rheumatoid arthritis treatment is to reduce joint pain and swelling. This should aid in the maintenance or improvement of joint function. The long-term goal of treatment is to reduce or eliminate joint damage. Controlling joint inflammation relieves pain and enhances quality of life.
Myth: RA is something that mainly older people have to worry about, kind of like how everyone expects to get gray hair as they age.
Fact: It's not accurate to assume that rheumatoid arthritis is reserved for the elderly. This condition can affect you at any age, often striking in the prime of life, between 40 and 60 years old. Even children and teenagers are not immune, so it's crucial to be aware that RA can impact anyone, not just older adults.
Myth: RA was just another form of arthritis, similar to the wear and tear you see with osteoarthritis.
Fact: Osteoarthritis differs completely from RA. You need to understand that RA is quite different from other types of arthritis. RA is an autoimmune disease where your body's immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues, causing inflammation and damage. This is a distinct process from osteoarthritis's mechanical wear and tear.
Myth: Drinking milk or eating dairy products can make RA symptoms worse.
Fact: You might be surprised to learn that cutting out milk and dairy products can deprive you of essential calcium, which is crucial for bone health. Avoiding these foods could increase your risk of calcium deficiency and bone problems. Maintaining a balanced diet, which includes dairy for its nutritional benefits, is essential to support your overall health and manage RA effectively.
Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sometimes, your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms worsen, and other times, you feel great. There are a few simple tips that make things easier.
- Taking care of yourself
- Incorporating low-impact aerobic exercise
- Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight
- Infusing stress-free lifestyle
- Trying Heat and cold therapy
- Practicing a regular bedtime routine
- Review with regular medications
Give a go to the above-mentioned simple strategies during Rheumatoid Awareness Day 2023 to help yourself and those around you.