Frequently Asked Questions About Rheumatoid Arthritis

frequently asked questions about rheumatoid arthritis

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  • RA patients may develop severe skin complications like rashes, ulcers, blisters and/or lumps or nodules below the skin, alongside typical symptoms like pain in the hands and feet, tender and swollen joints, morning stiffness, fatigue, fever and weight loss
  • RA patients can practice mild exercises, provided they consult a doctor first to know the workouts that are best for them, as well as learn techniques that’ll prevent potential injuries and inhibit joint deformities

Q: What does rheumatoid arthritis feel like?

A: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is extremely painful since it’s an autoimmune disease that affects joints in your hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles.1 The immune system mistakenly attacks these joints, inflames the synovium (tissue lining the insides of the joints) and causes it to thicken, triggering pain.2

Q: What happens when you have a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up?

A: A flare-up often happens after an infection or a very stressful situation, although the main causes are yet to be determined.3 In some cases, patients don’t experience symptoms for several weeks, months or years (in a condition known as remission), but will then suddenly notice indicators.4 Patients with severe RA experience more flare ups that last for a long time.5

Q: Do rashes occur if you have rheumatoid arthritis?

A: Yes, RA patients may develop severe skin complications like rashes, ulcers, blisters and/or lumps or nodules below the skin,6 alongside typical symptoms like pain in the hands and feet, tender and swollen joints, morning stiffness, fatigue, fever and weight loss.7 Rashes are also a common hallmark of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a type of RA usually seen among children.8

Q: What is the life expectancy of a rheumatoid arthritis patient?

A: There is no specific life expectancy projected for RA patients, although the lifespan for a person with this condition may be decreased by 10 years.9 How RA progresses  varies from person to person, as those who have been diagnosed at a younger age and have a more “active” and/or more severe form of the disease may develop worse conditions compared to other people.10

The good news is, there are prevention techniques and health-boosting foods that may help prevent RA from affecting you or someone you know.

Q: Can you die from rheumatoid arthritis?

A: Yes. A report by the Arthritis Foundation highlighted that RA accounts for 22 percent of death from arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the U.S.11 RA patients may also be predisposed to life-threatening complications like infections,12 heart problems, lung problems and cancer,13 and a higher incidence of anxiety and depression.14

Q: How is rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed? Is a blood test feasible for this disease?

A: A physical examination is the first step in determining if a patient has RA or not. This will involve:15

  • Checking for indications of joint swelling, stiffness, redness and warmth
  • Inspecting for presence of joint fluid/s and/or tender areas near or around the joint
  • Testing joints’ range of motion by moving them back and forth

For RA to be completely diagnosed, the patient may need to undergo many other examinations, such as blood tests. A single procedure isn’t sufficient in determining if the disease is present or not, especially if it’s in its early stages.16,17

Q: Willessential oils work for rheumatoid arthritis patients?

A: Yes. Some essential oils may work as a potential natural remedy for RA pain. Examples include:

  • Cypress: Massaging this essential oil on the affected body parts can help alleviate discomfort caused by rheumatism, osteoarthritis, and/or muscle and joint pain.18
  • Frankincense: As Cardiff University researchers discovered, frankincense can be effective in preventing creation of inflammatory molecules and breakdown of cartilage tissue, a precursor to arthritis.19
  • Nutmeg: Nutmeg oil may help promote circulation and address muscle pain, inflammation20 and swelling,21 when used as a massage oil.22
  • Wintergreen: This essential oil fuels blood circulation in affected tissues and muscles23 and helps relieve swelling.24

Q: Are there recommended exercises for rheumatoid arthritis patients?

A: Yes. RA patients can practice mild exercises, provided they consult a doctor first to know the exercises that are best for them, as well as learn techniques that’ll prevent potential injuries and inhibit joint deformities. The best types of mild exercises for RA patients include:25

Stretching

Walking

Yoga or tai chi

Aquatic exercises

Bike riding

Light weight or strength training

MORE ABOUT RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Introduction

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Types

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis Prevention

Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Hereditary?

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet

Rheumatoid Arthritis FAQ

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