Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, receives 150 new patients every week suffering from rheumatoid arthritis every week. The condition, the cause for which remains unknown, requires treatment for life.
“Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joint and other parts of the body,” Dr Aman Sharma, rheumatologist at PGI, told Newsline. “There is no awareness about this type of arthritis. It is the most dangerous and if untreated, it can lead to death. It is a very common disease and its patients only come to us at mid or last stages. Swelling in joints of hands and feet could be symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis,” he added.
“There are several risk factors that increase the chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Some are unavoidable, but preventive measures can be taken. Having a healthy diet, no smoking and taking probiotics, may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis,” he said
He added that there is some evidence that being vegetarian can decrease the risk of developing this type of arthritis. Woman are two are three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis then man. If a close family member has rheumatoid arthritis, a person may have a higher risk of developing the disease.
About the symptoms, Dr Aman said stiffness seen in active rheumatoid arthritis is typically worst during mornings and may last for 1-2 hours and even a day in some cases. Loss of energy, short-term fever, dry eyes, loss of appetite are some other symptoms of the disease.