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The joints become swollen, tender and warm, and stiffness limits their movement. With time, RA nearly always affects multiple joints ( polyarthritis). Most commonly, small joints of the hands, feet and cervical spine are affected, but larger joints like the shoulder and knee can also be involved. Synovitis can result in tethering of tissue with loss of movement and erosion of the joint surface, causing deformity and loss of function. Increased stiffness early in the morning is often a prominent feature of the disease which may last for more than an hour. In most patients, the disease follows an intermittent course and allows normal activity, although 10% suffer total disability from severe articular deformity, associated extra-articular symptoms, or both. The prognosis worsens with the development of nodules, vasculitis, and high titers of rheumatoid factor (RF).

 

The disease has been shown to place an enormous burden on society.

 

  • The studies show that about 8-9% of the adult population suffers from some form of Rheumatic disease - and about 5-6% of the population has joint (or related) diseases.
  • About 1% of the world's population is afflicted by Rheumatoid Arthritis, and women are affected three times more often than men.?
  • Although it can occur at any age, it begins most often between ages 25 and 55.
  • The prevalence of RA in adults in India varies from 0.5-3.8% in women and from 0.15-1.37% in men, with peak incidence in the fourth decade of life.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, inflammatory disorder, which principally attacks the peripheral joints and surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It may also affect many tissues and organs. It primarily affects the joints inflaming their lining (synovium), resulting in pain and swelling that eventually leads to deformity. It is characterized by spontaneous remissions and unpredictable exacerbation.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a medical condition that has multi-faceted shades of presentation, including many systemic complaints as the disease progresses. The main aim of treating a Rheumatoid Arthritis patient is to arrest the progress of the disease and prevent onset of any abnormality. With persons in whom the deformity has already set in, the aim is to reduce pain and deformity.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that demands the best implementation of the nuances of clinical skills of an Ayurveda physician. It is a medical condition that has multifaceted shades of presentation, which includes many systemic complaints as the disease progress. The main aim of treating a rheumatoid arthritis patient is to arrest the progress of the disease and prevent onset of any abnormality. Persons in whom the deformity has already set in the aim is to reduce the pain and deformity.

 

The treatment modality is both internal medications and therapies, judiciously administered after assessing the clinical condition. Here the therapies like lepa (anointions), vasti ( medicinal enema), dhara (pouring of medicinal liquid in a particular fashion) are of great significance. Significant improvement in respect to pain and range of movements can be brought about by the appropriate treatment. In conditions of deformity also treatment in long run may be of some help to the patient. In progressive state involving multiple systems though some efficacy is evident , the benefit of the treatment is unpredictable.

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