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   Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)  
  Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. This condition can also affect the tissues surrounding the joints (muscles, tendons, ligaments) as well as other organs of the body (skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs and muscles).

RA is a chronic condition and it tends to last for many years though there are periods in between when the patient is without any symptom. RA is a progressive condition and over a period of time, it causes joint destruction and functional disability.

Scientists largely believe that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetically inherited. It is also suspected that certain infections or factors in the environment might trigger the immune system to attack the body's own tissues (Autoimmune response), resulting in inflammation. In any case, the autoimmune response causes chronic inflammation of the joints, that later progresses to joint destruction. Stress can act a predisposing factor as well as a trigger to induce acute episodes of the condition. The disease is three times more common in women as compared to men. It afflicts people of all races equally. The disease can begin at any age, but peak incidence is seen between 40 to 60 years of age.

The course of RA varies from patient to patient. There are stages when the disease is active and this is called a Flare-up. In between the flare-ups are episodes when the patient is absolutely free from symptoms, such periods are called Remissions.

Common symptoms during the active stage of RA are as follows:
Joint swelling, redness and tenderness
Joint stiffness
Limited range of motion of joints
Deformities of hands and feet (at later stages)
Muscular pains
Loss of appetite
Usually multiple joints are affected at one time (polyarthritis)
Symmetrical affection of joints is common
Small joints of hands and feet; elbows, ankles are commonly involved
Skin redness or inflammation
Round, painless nodules under the skin
Inflammation of the lung (pleurisy)
Swollen glands

Diagnosis of RA:
Following are the common tests done to diagnose RA:
RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) factor
X-ray of the joint
ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate)
C-Reactive proteins (CRP)
CBC (Complete blood count)

Homoeopathic treatment:
RA being a constitutional disease that is auto immune in nature, calls for constitutional medication. Homoeopathy offers excellent treatment for the cases of RA, especially for those who have not developed joint deformities. The pain control is very effective with homoeopathy and this is without any side effects whatsoever. The treatment can also have a role to play in controlling the progress of the condition to some extent and in delaying the onset of complications. Homoeopathy is very strongly suggested for all cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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