What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Everyone is aware of the fact that rheumatoid arthritis is type of arthritis but what is rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It can also cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints and in other organs in the body. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body tissues are mistakenly attacked by its own immune system. Patients with autoimmune diseases have antibodies in their blood that target their own body tissues, where they can be associated with inflammation. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still largely unknown. Even though infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi have long been suspected, none has been proven as the cause. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a very active area of worldwide research.

  • Some scientists believe that rheumatoid arthritis could be genetically inherited
  • It is also suspected that certain infections or factors in the environment might trigger the immune system to attack the body’s own tissues, resulting in inflammation in various organs of the body such as the lungs or eyes
  • Environmental factors also seem to play some role in causing rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, scientists have reported that smoking tobacco increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis alternate i.e. they come and go, depending on the degree of tissue inflammation. When body tissues are inflamed, the disease is active. When tissue inflammation subsides, the disease is inactive (in remission). Remissions can occur spontaneously or with treatment, and can last weeks, months, or years. During remissions, symptoms of the disease disappear, and patients generally feel well. When the disease relapses, the symptoms return again. The return of disease activity and symptoms is called a flare.

When the disease is active symptoms could include

  • fatigue
  • lack of appetite
  • low grade fever
  • muscle and joint aches
  • stiffness

Muscle and joint stiffness are usually most notable in the morning and after periods of inactivity
Arthritis is common during disease flares. During flares joints frequently become red, swollen, painful, and tender

Types of inflammation

  • In rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joints are usually inflamed in a symmetrical pattern (both sides of the body affected).
  • The small joints of both the hands and wrists are often involved. Simple tasks of daily living, such as turning door knobs and opening jars can become difficult during flares
  • The small joints of the feet are also commonly involved. Occasionally, only one joint is inflamed.
  • Chronic inflammation can cause damage to body tissues, cartilage and bone. This leads to a loss of cartilage and erosion and weakness of the bones as well as the muscles

Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • The first step to diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis is meeting doctor
  • Certain blood and x-ray tests are often obtained
  • The diagnosis is based on the pattern of symptoms, the distribution of the inflamed joints, and the blood and x-ray findings

How is the Mediterranean Climate for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

It is observed that climatic changes can either aggravate or alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is generally observed cold and damp climate generally worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Now the question arises is how is the Mediterranean climate for rheumatoid arthritis? Various research studies have shown that Mediterranean climate is beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Besides Mediterranean climate, Mediterranean diet is also beneficial for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.