a doctor checking a patient's handsRheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder that attacks the body’s joints that’s why it is often associated with joint pain. It typically begins in the small joints like fingers, toes, and hands then progresses to the larger joints such as the ankles, wrists, hips, and knees.

Aside from the joints, it can also damage other parts of the body like the eyes, skin, lungs, blood vessels, and heart. This condition can cause severe pain when not treated properly. Fortunately, there are various clinics and wellness centers that specialize in providing rheumatoid arthritis care — RedRiver Health and Wellness Center in Las Vegas, for instance.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs, symptoms, and severity of rheumatoid arthritis varies from one patient to another. However, there are still common signs such as the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Warm, tender, and swollen joints
  • Joint pain and stiffness, especially in the mornings or after a period of inactivity
  • Joint or finger deformity
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Recurring urinary tract infection
  • Stiff bumps or nodules under the skin

Aside from these symptoms, studies show that about 40% of people with rheumatoid arthritis may also experience complications with their skin, lungs, eyes, heart, salivary glands, kidneys, nerve tissue, blood vessels, and bone marrows.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of this disease is still a mystery, but there are risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing one. Such factors include your gender, age, and family history.

For example, women between 50 and 60 years old have a higher risk of the disease, especially if they have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking, obesity, and exposure to environmental toxins are also some of the other things that can increase your risk factor.

Conventional vs. Functional Medicine

The conventional way of treating rheumatoid arthritis focuses on managing the symptoms, which is why it is mainly based on the use of medications. On the other hand, functional medicine follows a more holistic approach.

It is also more focused on finding and treating the root cause of disease by reducing as many of the possible causes, such as food allergies, poor digestion, excessive inflammatory processes, leaky gut, and infections, in a more natural manner.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a very aggressive disease that may require an equally aggressive treatment. Drugs may also be required, especially for more severe cases.

However, that doesn’t mean that natural measures have no place in your treatment plan as they can improve the effectiveness of the medications which means lower drug dosages. Consult with your doctor about this, so they can explain to you your options in more detail.