All you need to know about the prognosis and course of rheumatoid arthritis
There have been so many questions arising regarding the prognosis and course of rheumatoid arthritis since the first RA diagnosis was made.
The doctor’s education may not have been as detailed, and the Wikipedia articles on rheumatoid arthritis are full of hieroglyphs. How can you keep track of this? How does the disease proceed, what are the chances of a cure? Learn more about rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and path here.
Small repetition: What is rheumatoid arthritis and what happens in the joint?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease of the joints. In autoimmune diseases, immune cells mistakenly attack friend rather than foe: instead of pathogens and toxins, it is the body’s own and healthy cells.
As a result, the affected tissue suffers massive damage, chronical inflammation and destruction occur in the late course of the disease.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, it is the inner skin of the joints that is the target of the autoimmune attack.
Starting at the large joints of the knees and elbows, the disease then spreads to the periphery, i.e. the smaller joints.
The rheumatoid arthritis symptoms usually range from pressure pain, swelling and inflammation of the affected joints to non-specific symptoms such as fever, night sweats, fatigue.
Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis is easily possible by means of criteria and methods. The therapy (see rheumatoid arthritis therapy) as well as an adapted diet (see rheumatoid arthritis diet) are absolutely necessary to slow down or stop the autoimmune process.
In particular, nutrition and lifestyle play a special role and are often underestimated, although there are important causes of the disease. More on this among rheumatoid arthritis causes.
So how does the disease make its way?
Rheumatoid arthritis forms
Here are two forms of history before we come to the individual stages of the disease.
The disease occurs in rare cases, with the symptoms gradually becoming more severe and gradually increasing.
Those affected can observe how the pain and swelling become stronger. Then one should act with enhanced caution and seek immediate diagnosis along with appropriate and required therapy.
In most cases, the disease relapses. This means that the symptoms appear suddenly and very violently. In such a case, one speaks of a ‘disease boost’.
The thrusts get worse from time to time. You can read about this here (rheumatoid arthritis symptoms) when the first surge of the disease occurs.
We can divide the symptoms into initial and arthritis phases. However, in order to better monitor the course of the disease, scientists divided it into four stages.
Rheumatoid arthritis – The four stages
The disease is divided into four stages, which better describes the severity of the symptoms than two. In later stages, the physician prescribes other drugs and uses other methods to cease the progression of the disease at all costs.
Exacerbation of swelling of the joints, which gets worse from time to time. In addition, pain in the joints as well as morning stiffness. Also non-specific symptoms such as fever, fatigue and night sweats.
The mobility of the joints gradually diminishes. The muscles become weaker, bone degradation is detectable.
Increasing pain and swelling of the joints. Beginning destruction of the affected articular cartilage and surrounding bones.
The rapid increase in inflammation and growth of the inner lining of the joint causes damage to the cartilage. As a result, the joints become unstable and malpositions of the joints form.
The severe restriction of the mobility of the joints follows. The disease spreads increasingly to other joints (smaller joints in fingers and toes), as well as to the cervical spine and jaw. Increasing impairment in everyday life.
The joints are now very stiff and severely deformed, resulting in immobility, helplessness and disability of those affected. Those suffering from RA completely depend on outside help and are too restricted in their daily lives.
Therefore, treatment must start as quickly as possible – rheumatoid arthritis therapy and rheumatoid arthritis diet are of equal importance.
The doctors must bring the disease to a standstill in the early stages, that is the ultimate goal. Stage three and four must not be reached at all costs.
And in order for this to happen, good cooperation between you and the doctor is necessary for therapy and nutrition.
Rheumatoid arthritis prognosis – are there any course parameters?
We can certainly measure the progression of the disease in any other way than by the four stages, or progressive symptoms, can we not?
Yes, there is an approach with formulas that allow a doctor to measure the “activity of the disease”. The most important course parameter, however, is your perceived pain level and the mobility of the joints.
There are four stages and there is the monitoring of joints and blood values. In this, one can monitor the progression or the healing process relatively well. Speaking of which, is there a known cure for rheumatoid arthritis?
Is rheumatoid arthritis curable?
“Healing” is a severe term for autoimmune diseases. Healing means a complete decrease of the symptoms and a regeneration towards the initial state.
In the case of a viral disease, this may be easier to measure. The immune system completely eliminates the virus, excretes it and the body regenerates. Finished.
In the case of autoimmune diseases, the entire thing is a little more complicated. Because the condition is chronic, the affected tissue as “enemy” is also chronic (permanent), in the sense, and the autoimmune process is chronic too.
There is no enemy here that the immune system can simply erase and rinse out. The enemy is the lack of communication between the immune system and affected tissue.
In the case of autoimmune diseases, we are not talking about cure, but about remission and regeneration.
Remission means a complete decrease of the symptoms and a stop of the autoimmune process.
Remission is possible through a good combination of therapy and a healthy diet, both of which are equally of the essence. This goes for rheumatoid arthritis as well as for other autoimmune diseases.
The earlier treatment begins, the higher the chances of remission.
Regeneration is another goal. After stopping the autoimmune process, the damaged tissue should regenerate in the best possible way.
A complete regrowth down to the initial state is only possible in a few cases, so we are not talking about a cure for autoimmune diseases.
The first goal is, therefore, to stop the autoimmune process, after which the damaged tissue should regenerate due to a continued healthy diet and lifestyle. That is possible, and that is the truth.
What is the longer-term rheumatoid arthritis prognosis?
First of all, autoimmune diseases are chronic and lifelong. And that’s exactly what the doctor will tell you. Nevertheless, he is only partly right. You will probably also read and hear that autoimmune diseases are incurable.
Experience, however, shows something quite different: that remission is possible and that you do not necessarily have to suffer from the disease for life.
And that the disease does not necessarily progress – nor do you need to take medication for life.
How is this possible? You hold that in your own hands! Start rheumatoid arthritis therapy as soon as possible. For treatment, look for a good rheumatologist or functional physician.
Make sure to choose one who treats the disease not only on the basis of symptoms but also on the causes. Functional physicians have the most comprehensive knowledge of this.
As long as the physician, and you, don’t tackle the disease at its root (cause), it is impossible to stop the autoimmune process.
If you follow this therapy well and also take into account diet and lifestyle, which is just as important as good therapy, you have the best prospects – despite illness.
Conclusion – Prognosis and course of rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease of the joints. It is considered incurable. Supposedly, those affected must suffer from the disease for life and take medication.
The medications are important to relieve pain, inflammation in the body and symptoms. However, nutrition is at least as vital.
If nothing is done, the disease advances and increasingly restricts the way of life. The pain is also steadily increasing.
In the late stages, those affected are disabled and dependent on outside help. Therefore, the rheumatoid arthritis prognosis does not look good with poor compliance.
To prevent this from getting this far, physicians have developed therapies and diets specifically for rheumatoid arthritis.
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