Rheumatoid Arthritis Stages: Symptoms, Treatments in Mansfield TX ; Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues, including joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, leading to a painful inflammation that can result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
What are the 4 stages of rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis progresses over time through 4 stages. Symptoms worsen as rheumatoid arthritis progresses.
The 4 stages of rheumatoid arthritis include:
Stage 1: Early stage
The stage 1 is the early stage of rheumatoid arthritis. At this stage, patients experience joint tissue inflammation that causes joint pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and tenderness. The joint lining known as the synovium becomes inflamed. There’s no damage to the bones.
Treatment of stage 1 RA
In the early stage, rheumatoid arthritis, the first line of treatment is the use of Methotrexate.
Methotrexate is a chemotherapy medication that alters the immune system response. It can be taken in the form of pill or injection.
Other medications that change the body’s immune response over time, known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), can also be used to treat early stage of RA.
DMARDs such as leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine are commonly used for the treatment of RA.
Additional treatments may be required to fully manage and slow down the progression of RA. Additional treatment options that may be used include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications can be in the form of pills, patches, or topical ointments
- Prescription corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone, prednisolone, and prednisone are used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Physical therapy involves strengthening and stretching exercises to help strengthen the bones of the joint and make the joint more flexible.
- Occupational therapy can also help to improve RA.
Stage 2: Moderate
In the moderate stage, patients often experience more severe symptoms. Synovial inflammation in joints begins to cause damage to the joint cartilage. This leads to frequent or long periods of reduced mobility or range of motion in the joints.
Stage 2 RA Treatment
Treatment will continue with using DMARDs and other prescription or over-the-counter medications. Biologic response modifiers may also be used depending on the patients’ response to treatment.
Biologic response modifiers are medications that target joint inflammation by blocking the immune protein tumor necrosis factor or the action of immune cells.
Examples of biologic response modifiers for treating RA include abatacept, adalimumab, etanercept, anakinra, golimumab, infliximab, tocilizumab, certolizumab pegol, and rituximab.
Stage 3: Severe RA
At this stage, the RA has progressed significantly. Patients experience more severe pain and frequent joint inflammation.
Damage extends beyond the cartilage to the bones. The bones rub together due to cartilage damage and they begin to wear out.
Patients begin to experience further decrease in the range of motion and mobility. The bones and joint become damaged and deformed.
Treatment for stage 3 RA
Some medications for stage 1 and stage 2 are used for the treatment of stage 3 RA. If those medications are not successful, another type of DMARD known as Janus kinase inhibitors, alongside other traditional DMARDs are used.
Stage 4: End stage
This is the end stage or the most severe stage of RA. In this stage, joint tissue inflammation reduces significantly.
Most patients with end stage RA experience the same symptoms as the earlier stages of RA such as pain, stiffness, inflammation, and loss of mobility. The bones may be fused together and the joint destroyed.
Treatment of stage 4 RA
After trying all medical options, surgery may be the next option for patients with stage 4 RA. Surgery may be required to repair joint damage, repair tendons, remove the synovium or nodules, separate fused joint, or replace a damaged joint.
Patients usually rely on assistive mobility devices to perform their daily tasks.
What are usually the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis?
Early signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Tender, warm, and swollen joints
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- Loss of appetite
What is the main cause of rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition whereby the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy body tissues. The main cause of RA is the body’s immune system attacking its own healthy body tissues.
How serious is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive disease. Symptoms get worse over time. RA first affects the smaller joints such as the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and the joints that attach your toes to your feet.
As RA progresses, it affects the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders.
RA does not just affect the joint alone, it can also affect many non-joint structures, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, and blood vessels.
RA can cause severe damage to the bones and joints. It can also cause serious damage and complications in many non-joint structures and organs.
What foods are bad for rheumatoid arthritis?
Foods that are bad for RA include:
- Grilled, broiled, or fried meats
- Fatty and trans-fat foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids
- Sugars and refined carbohydrates
- Foods that contain gluten
- Preservatives and flavor enhancers
- Foods high in salt
What are the 5 worst foods to eat if you have arthritis?
- Trans-fat and fatty foods such as baked foods, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, pizza, and fried chicken
- Foods that contain gluten such as bread, bulgur, wheat, cakes, pies, candies, cereals, communion wafers, cookies and crackers.
- White sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, snacks, pasta, sweets, and cereals.
- Processed and fried foods such as french fries, fried chicken, cereal, cheese, cookies, chips, etc.
- Grilled, boiled, or fried red meat.
What is the first line treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?
The first line of treatment for RA is the use of Methotrexate. Methotrexate is a chemotherapy medication that alters the body’s immune system response to reduce or stop the progression of RA.
What organs are affected by rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the smaller joints first. As it progresses, it affects the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders.
Other organs RA can affect include the eyes, lungs, heart, kidney, skin, salivary glands, nerve tissue, blood vessels, and bone marrow.
What is the best natural treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?
Some of the best natural treatments for RA include:
- Aloe vera
- Green tea
- Cat’s claw
- Thunder God Vine
What does Rheumatoid arthritis fatigue feel like?
RA fatigue affects the whole body. RA fatigue is often described as deep tiredness or slowing down of the body.
Can Rheumatoid arthritis go away?
RA is a chronic progressive disease. It does not go away on its own. You need to seek treatments to reduce or stop it symptoms and progression.
How do doctors diagnose rheumatoid arthritis?
Diagnosis for RA includes physical exam, blood tests and imaging tests.
During the physical exam, your joints will be checked for swelling, redness and warmth. Your doctor may also check your reflexes and strength of your muscle.
Your blood may be checked by your doctor to know if you have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein. If you have, this may indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in your body. Blood tests may also be conducted to look for rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies.
Imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, and ultrasound may be conducted. X-ray helps to track the progression of RA in the joints. MRI and ultrasound tests are used to check the severity of RA.
Is walking good for rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis can make walking difficult. However, walking is good for you if you have RA. Walking eases your pain and strengthens the muscles that support your joints.
What happens if rheumatoid arthritis is left untreated?
If RA is left untreated, it can cause serious damage and complications to your bones, joints, and organs. Your bones could become fused together and your joint damaged. You may experience loss of mobility. There is also the risk of early mortality.
How can I reverse rheumatoid arthritis?
RA can’t be reversed but you can slow down its progression or make it go into remission.
The ways you can slow down RA progression include:
- Physical therapy and exercises
- Taking probiotics
- Taking supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin
- Applying magnesium oil