newsdog Facebook

Consultancy corner: Rheumatoid arthritis can affect multiple organs if untreated

DTNext 2019-08-13 07:19:46

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune systemic inflammatory disorder which can affect multiple organs if left untreated. Studies show that about one percent of the Indian population in developed countries suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Sham Santhanam, Consultant Rheumatologist Chennai: Research in India shows 0.9 percent of the local population suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Incidences of RA are ever-increasing which could be partly due to rapidly changing environmental factors and also partly due to changing lifestyle.
The initial symptoms cause swelling and inflammation in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is one among the 200 auto immune diseases that affect the Indian population. In case an individual is undergoing pain in the joints for a continuous period of 4-6 weeks in the morning, it is necessary to consult a Rheumatologist. Rheumatoid arthritis can be managed effectively through early diagnosis, a well-balanced diet and by doing regular exercises.
When we compare men and women, the latter have high chances of getting affected with rheumatoid arthritis as their body goes through a lot of hormonal imbalances. The ratio is 4:5 to 1 for women and men. Rheumatoid arthritis is common among individuals between 30-50 years of age and about 95 percent individuals are misdiagnosed. The youngest patient treated at my clinic is a year old, condition known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are constantly seeking to ease their symptoms with food and dietary supplements. Few studies show a connection between certain foods and the inflammation that characterizes this autoimmune condition. Before embarking on a special diet or taking supplements it is better to seek professional help.
The common tests for RA are Anti CCP, Rheumatoid Factor, C – reactive protein, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Sometimes X ray/MRI are used. However, the treatment techniques are improvised after the introduction of biological therapies/small molecules which can be consumed through injections and tablets. Steroids & painkillers are not the main stay of treatment with disease specific agents being available. Lastly, it is important for us to educate and reinforce the fact that RA is a manageable condition and patients should be encouraged to seek the right treatment while also adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Patients who are diagnosed and treated early (within 3 months), 1 in 4 might be even able to stop the drugs after a treatment period of 2 years.