RA is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks its own body’s tissues causing swelling, bone erosion and deformity. It can be progressively debilitating.
Are you at risk! What should you expect! What can be done!
Risk factors: RA typically occurs between the ages of 25 – 50. Women are at a much higher risk than men (70-80% are female). Family history and obesity will increase your risk factor as will being a smoker; the severity of disease is much greater in smokers compared to non-smokers.
Key factors: A key trigger of RA is an elevated level of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF). TNF is a
protein which the body normally blocks excessive activity of, but with rheumatic disease it stays active and creates inflammation. TNF blockers are usually prescribed to control the inflammation.
Symptoms: typically the smaller joints are first affected, fingers, toes, wrists, and then the larger joints. Joints will likely feel warm and stiff, be swollen and red, overall fatigue may occur. Symptoms may come and go, periods of remission
will likely occur.
Physical Therapy: through exercise you can promote optimal wellness, manage the condition and prevent disability. Physical therapy can help improve activity tolerance, mobility, flexibility, strength, fitness and overall well-being. Yoga, Tai Chi, water aerobics, strength training, biking and walking are all great forms of exercise.