What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Anyone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis in their wrists doesn't need to be reminded how irritating and debilitating it can be. The condition can cause joints to swell up and become sensitive or even painful after time, turning what were once simple actions like writing, typing or picking up objects into difficult and even stressful ordeals. There is hope though, as it doesn't have to be this way. We at WristSupports.co.uk have created a guide to help you better understand rheumatoid arthritis, along with its causes and symptoms, so you can identify the condition sooner and takes steps to help your wrists and other joints get back to full health.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The first step to combatting any ailment is to understand what it is, and where it comes from. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and swelling in your joints, and is a common cause of wrist pain. This sets it apart from osteoarthritis, which is caused by ageing and the gradual wear and tear of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the synovium (a structure that keeps your joints lubricated so they can move without friction and pain) becomes inflamed, causing redness, swelling and pain. When the inflammation goes down, the synovium can no longer hold your joint in the proper position, causing it to become unstable and allowing your joint to move into unusual positions. After repeated inflammations of this kind, the joint begins to wear away, making the arthritic symptoms worse and worse. 

Rheumatoid arthritis of the wrist inflammation and pain

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

After learning about what this condition is, many of you are probably wondering what you can do to prevent it. With roughly 400,000 cases in the UK, rheumatoid arthritis is a fairly common condition, mostly affecting women and those over the age of 40. That's not to say we all shouldn't be careful, as this affliction can affect pretty much anyone. While we don't know exactly what the catalyst for the inflammation that sets off rheumatoid arthritis is, we know of several factors that may boost your chances of developing the condition. Among the most common causes are:

  • Smoking
  • Eating large amounts of red meat
  • Drinking coffee and caffeine

These factors have been known to boost risk of arthritic development, though there are a wide range of other risk factors. The most prevalent of these is genetic disposition, but again, this alone will not guarantee arthritis risk.

It's not all doom and gloom though, as there has been research suggesting a number of ways we can combat our arthritic risk. Rheumatoid arthritis has been found to be less common in those:

  • With a high intake of vitamin C
  • Who drink alcohol in moderation

How Can I Tell If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to show themselves sporadically, coming and going in rotation over time. Varying from person to person, these symptoms will usually begin in a restrained manner, showing themselves in a finger, a wrist or the balls of the feet intermittently. Common symptoms can include:

  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Fatigue, irritability
  • Anaemia
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Rapid loss of joint function

Those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis will also often report their joints feeling stiff in the morning, and gradually loosening up over the day. If you commonly experience these symptoms for periods that last over half an hour, we recommend that you consult your physician. Research shows that the sooner you identify the problem and start your treatment, the more effective it's likely to be.

No single tests have been found to provide a definite diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in its early stages. This means that patients must work together with physicians to provide a list of contributing symptoms and test results in order to discover the condition while it is still easy to treat. The best detection method involves a cataloguing of symptoms, along with physical examinations, x-rays, scans and blood tests.

Rheumatoid arthritis inflammation in the wrist and joints wrist supports

How We Can Help

Now that we've given you an overview of rheumatoid arthritis and what it means for you and your wrists, it's time for us to earn our keep. Here at WristSupports.co.uk, we stock a great lineup of braces and supports that can help you fight back against your arthritis, letting you carry on with your day, pain-free. We pride ourselves in selecting products that will take the pain, stiffness and swelling off both your joints and your mind. Together with professional treatment and good habits, these supports will set you on your way to pain-free wrists that will get things done.

To start battling your pain and inflammation today, check out our full range of Wrist Supports for Rheumatoid Arthritis!

 

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