Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is traditionally considered a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints. It is a disabling and painful inflammatory condition, which can lead to substantial loss of mobility due to pain and joint destruction. RA is a systemic disease, often affecting extra-articular tissues throughout the body including the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and muscles.
The name is derived from the Greek Rheumatos means “flowing”, and this initially gave rise to the term ‘rheumatic fever’, an illness that can follow throat infections and which includes joint pain. The suffix -oid means “resembling”, i.e. resembling rheumatic fever. Arthr means “joint” and the suffix -itis, a “condition involving inflammation”. Thus rheumatoid arthritis was a form of joint inflammation that resembled rheumatic fever.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory, multisystem autoimmune disorder. It is commonly polyarticular; that is, it affects many joints. Inflammation, soft tissue swelling, and the involvement of multiple joints are common signs and symptoms that distinguish rheumatoid and other inflammatory arthritis from non-inflammatory arthritis such as osteoarthritis.
The joints are usually affected initially asymmetrically and then in a symmetrical fashion as the disease progresses. The pain generally improves with use of the affected joints, and there is usually stiffness of all joints in the morning that lasts over one hour. Thus, the pain of rheumatoid arthritis is usually worse in the morning compared to the classic pain of osteoarthritis where the pain worsens over the day as the joints are used. Extra-articular manifestations also distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from osteoarthritis (hence it is a multisystemic disease). For example, most RA patients also suffer with anemia, either as a consequence of the disease itself (anaemia of chronic disease) or as a consequence of gastro- intestinal bleeding as a side effect of drugs used in treatment, especially NSAIDs used for analgesia. Hepatosplenomegaly may occur with concurrent leukopaenia (Felty’s syndrome), and lymphocytic infiltration may affect the salivary and lacrimal glands (Sjögren’s syndrome). Pericarditis, pleurisy, alveolitis, scleritis, and subcutaneous nodules are other features.
Ozone Therapy can help with rheumatoid arthritis as ozone can fight inflammation, reduce pain, decrease swelling, breaks up uric acid, enhance calcium uptake and ozone speeds up recovery of damaged tissues. Ozone will also help fight osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, poor blood circulation, stroke, heart attack and immune disorders.
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