Rheumatoid Arthritis and Heart Disease

Although the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known yet, it is a multi-causal disease in which genetic and environmental factors are involved.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the small joints of the hands and feet ache, swelling, rigidityand loss of function It is an inflammatory disease that can cause It is usually a chronic condition, a disease that requires constant medication with periods of sleep and exacerbation. It is more in women than men. It is a common type of inflammatory rheumatism. There is a possibility of rheumatoid arthritis in 5 out of 1000 adults in our country.

Rheumatoid Arthritis; It occurs in genetically predisposed individuals as a result of the immune system working differently than normal when environmental factors pull the trigger and responding to the joints and other tissues of the body and damaging these tissues. . Rheumatoid Arthritis is not a contagious disease.

The disease affects the hand, wrist and foot, small joints of the ankle, less commonly the knee and elbow joints, and there is usually bilateral involvement. Pain, swelling and loss of movement occur in the involved joint. Stiffness (rigidity/stiffness) is seen in the joints for 30-60 minutes in the morning and after long periods of inactivity. Deformities (deformities) in the fingers and toes may develop in people who have a long-term disease that does not respond well to treatment, or who are irregular and/or who discontinue the treatment.

In rheumatoid arthritis, some patients may also be affected in other organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes, apart from the joint. The most common finding as a skin symptom is painless swelling under the skin (rheumatoid nodule). These nodules are most commonly found near the elbow, but they can also occur in many different areas such as the heel and the top of the hand knuckles. There may be fluid collection after inflammation in the membrane surrounding the heart and lungs. Damage to the nerve tissue may occur as a result of swelling in the joints pressing on the nerves and slipping that may occur in the neck vertebrae. Sometimes, damage to the nerve tissue may occur with the effect of inflammation. This can most often cause numbness in the hands. Sjögren’s syndrome with dry mouth and dry eyes may accompany Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Treatment begins with drug therapy to reduce disease activity and prevent joint damage. Additional treatments can be started after periodic controls. In addition, with regular exercises, both the preservation of joint gap and muscle strength should be preserved. The patient should be taught exercises that he can do on his own, and the patient should be able to do them independently. Corrective surgeries can be performed in some cases that have not received adequate treatment and have developed very advanced deformities.

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