Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment - Prescription Drugs vs. Natural Remedies

Before I start on the subject of rheumatoid arthritis treatment, please take note that I am not a doctor. I have however done plenty of research on the subject, and I believe there are others who may be able to benefit from my findings.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is largely considered to be the second most common form of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common. Unlike osteoarthritis which affects the cartilage within one's joints, rheumatoid arthritis affects the synovial membrane. This is the membrane that surrounds all joints, and its job is to contain the synovial fluid which is vital for joint health. For reasons still not fully understood, the body sometimes attacks the synovial membrane, and when it does, the result is rheumatoid arthritis.

One thing which is of particular interest to researchers is the fact that rheumatoid arthritis is far more common in industrialized countries than it is in the developing world. Furthermore, research has yet to determine why the condition affects mostly women between the ages of 40 and 60. Men can and do get it, but women are at a far greater risk.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sufferers will often experience joint pain ranging from mild to severe. The disease usually affects fingers, wrists, arms and/or legs. Affected joints are often swollen and very tender if pressed. Many sufferers report that pain is at its worst for about an hour after waking up in the mornings. It is also not uncommon to see tissue bumps (rheumatoid nodules) under the skin on the arms of someone with the condition. Lastly but not least, most rheumatoid arthritis sufferers will experience persistent fatigue.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are a number of drugs currently being used to treat this debilitating condition, but as with all prescription drugs, the vast majority come with a risk of potential side effects. For example, aspirin is a well known drug which is regularly given to people with arthritis, and in fact, it is mostly obtainable without a prescription. Unfortunately however, it can cause some very serious side effects, especially since it has to be taken in high doses.

Other types of treatment may include the use of steroid drugs, and even anti-malarial drugs. Many people, including myself, feel very strongly about the use of steroid drugs for a number of reasons, but I will leave that for another time. There are also several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) being prescribed, but once again, the risk of side effects is high enough to have earned them an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Black Box Warning.

Natural Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

There are countless natural remedies for arthritis out there that make astonishing claims. Some work, but many don't, so if you choose to follow this route, it is imperative that you choose a high quality remedy.

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