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Rheumatoid Arthritis – RA

Rheumatoid Arthritis – RA

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the body inappropriately attacks the synovial membrane and fluid in the joints. This is different than osteoarthritis in that it is immune driven rather than wear and tear, and the part of the joint that is damaged is different. Some important symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Symmetrical joint pain – the same joints on both sides of the body are typically affected (ie. both wrists, the thumb joint on both hands, etc.)
  • Typically starts in the small joints of the hands and feet first and then moves in to larger joints
  • May be red, swollen, and painful
  • Over time will form nodules on the affected joints that can change the shape of the joint
  • May have fevers and fatigue

Diagnosis is typically made with a combination of physical exams, imaging such as x-rays, and blood tests. Common blood tests used include:

  • Hematology – red and white blood cell numbers
  • CRP or ESR – inflammation markers
  • RF – rheumatoid factor
  • Anti-CCP – anti-body specific to RA

Diet and lifestyle changes, as well as targeted supplementation often help significantly with the reduction of pain and inflammation in rheumatological diseases. These are tailored specifically to each patient and should be designed with current medications, disease extent, and patient preference in mind.