This Article is About
rheumatoid arthritis
genetic predisposition
chronic inflammation
types of arthritis
abnormal cells
cigarette smoking
autoimmune diseases
natural defence
defence mechanism
surveillance system
Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Types of Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a relatively common disorder affecting approximately one in a hundred of the population. It can strike at any age and is more prevalent in women than men. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is a natural process of wear and tear, it is not primarily a disease of the aged and can strike at any age. In fact rheumatoid arthritis belongs to a class of conditions called autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune Disease

The immune system is the body’s surveillance system detecting and neutralising infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. It also aids in the elimination of abnormal cells which left unchecked might turn cancerous. In autoimmune conditions this natural defence mechanism goes haywire and starts to recognise normal and healthy tissue as foreign and thereafter initiates an attack. This results in chronic inflammation and ultimately tissue destruction.

Genetic and Environmental Factors

The main target for tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis is the joints, although other tissues are often involved. While the ultimate cause of this disease is unknown, it is thought that there is a genetic predisposition. These genetic factors alone are insufficient to initiate the disease and an environmental trigger is also required. This initiating event is likely to be an infectious disease agent. Interestingly, cigarette smoking has been shown to be a risk factor for contracting rheumatoid arthritis and provides another good reason not to start smoking. Presently there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis however there are a number of pharmacological approaches which have been shown to be effective treatments. It is important to control this disease early on, otherwise extensive joint damage occurs with attendant pain and loss of normal function. Surgical intervention involving joint repair and artificial replacement is often contemplated to restore mobility and lessen the life destroying ravages of chronic pain.

Not everyone is affected to the same degree. About one third of people with rheumatoid arthritis will achieve real benefits from treatment, while another third receive some degree of relief. Unfortunately the final third of sufferers experience significant deterioration and prove a real challenge to the medical profession.

Karen’s Disease

I know about this debilitating disease from first hand as my wife Karen has been a sufferer for over 20 years. As I write she is at home in bed recovering from an operation on her neck vertebra which is designed to stop the excruciating pain caused by bone degeneration. This will be her 25th operation in less than 4 years. She belongs to the unfortunate third of patients which respond poorly to medical intervention and has undergone widespread and extensive joint damage. The number of drugs she ingests on a daily basis is currently running at 16; this includes 3 opiate based drugs which are used to control her excruciating pain. It is our fervent hope that this is her final surgical procedure. However, on past experience and unless she responds radically different to the best modern medicine has to offer, I suspect there will be more to come.


Street Talk

Thank you Geoffrey for your kind comments. It is good folk like yourself that keeps me writing. Stay well. Cheers George

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hey George, I just passed by to say hallo and to tell you that I like your article. May it please you to continue with that spirit of serving humanity with such informative articles. Thank you very much

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hi Geoffrey, noticed from your articles that you are a fellow member of WA. Let me know your username and I contact you on the forums. My username is : Guthlac. George

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Man, give your wife a huge hug for me and let her know she is not alone. I am in close to the same boat, not being able to hold my head up at times. I feel her pain and I wish her the best! great article, by the way.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hi Shawn, thanks for the kind words. My wife was touched by your comment and asked me to send you her regards and thanks.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Accepted. :)

  
  about 7 years ago

Hi Shawn, noticed from your articles that you are a fellow member of WA. Let me know your username and I contact you on the forums. My username is : Guthlac. George

  
  about 7 years ago

Sure, my name at WA is Shawn Martin

  
  about 7 years ago
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