People have long feared rheumatoid arthritis (commonly called RA) as one of the most disabling types of arthritis. The good news is that the outlook has greatly improved for many people with newly diagnosed (detected) RA. Of course, RA remains a serious disease, and one that can vary widely in symptoms (what you feel) and outcomes. Even so, treatment advances have made it possible to stop or at least slow the progression (worsening) of joint damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. It is caused when the immune system (the body’s defense system) is not working properly. RA causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet.
Treatments for RA can stop joint pain and swelling. Treatment also prevents joint damage. Early treatment will give better long term results.
Regular low-impact exercises, such as walking, and exercises can increase muscle strength. This will improve your overall health and lower pressure on your joints.
Studies show that people who receive early treatment for RA feel better sooner and more often, and are more likely to lead an active life. They also are less likely to have the type of joint damage that leads to joint replacement.
RA is diagnosed by examining blood test results, examining the joints and organs, and reviewing x-ray or ultrasound images. There is no one test to diagnose RA.
RA is a chronic arthritis. Generally the symptoms will need to be present for more than three months to consider this diagnosis.