Rheumatoid arthritis is also known as RA and is a chronic condition that affects your joints. So, how do you get rheumatoid arthritis? This condition occurs when your immune system begins to attack the tissues in your body, which results in pain and inflammation of certain joints. While there is no cure for RA, it can be managed with proper care and treatment.

Over one million people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with RA. This disease is more common in women than men and usually strikes between 30 and 60 years of age. To obtain an accurate diagnosis, your doctor may test for rheumatoid arthritis through blood tests and X-rays. Your doctor will also take a detailed medical history, documenting your symptoms. It is important to seek treatment if you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, as this disease can cause joint erosion if left untreated. In some instances, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are present at the same time. Some people get a rheumatoid arthritis rash, which can be uncomfortable and irritating.

Battling the effects of rheumatoid arthritis can be done with lifestyle changes that will help ease pain and inflammation. Moderate physical activity will increase joint flexibility and improve strength. Exercise will also give you a feeling of well-being and boost your energy. It is important to include stretching, strength training and cardiovascular exercise to reduce the pain associated with RA. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids will decrease joint pain, as well.

Early diagnosis is an important aspect of reducing joint erosion to prevent further damage to your joints. Your rheumatologist will recommend treatments and medications that will reduce pain and keep joint damage to a minimum. Certain medications treat pain while others such as corticosteroids are designed to reduce joint inflammation. Research is ongoing in the search for ways to manage this disease. Antirheumatic drugs may provide rheumatoid arthritis pain relief but may have side effects. Your doctor will help you weight the risks and benefits of all RA treatments.

While receiving a diagnosis of RA may be disconcerting, there are ways to manage the disease and live an active life. Combining medications with lifestyle changes will help keep pain and inflammation at bay.