It has been estimated that more than 60 million Americans are affected by joint diseases commonly referred to as arthritis. This condition has plagued many Americans especially those in the advancing years. A big number of these cases have become severe enough that it may require extreme measures such as surgeries.
Of the big number of people afflicted with arthritis, more than two-thirds have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. While this particular disease may be a cause of grave concern, other joint diseases should not be taken for granted. Records show that after osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is the second main cause for hip replacement surgeries.
Maybe because of the preoccupation with osteoarthritis, people have not become acquainted with rheumatoid arthritis and in some cases confuse this disease with osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is entirely different from osteoarthritis and may only share a similarity in the pain and discomfort it gives patients.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that your own immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues of your own body, causing problems in the joints and in some cases the whole body. What is attacked is the synovium which is the lining of the membranes around the joints.
This results to thickening of the synovium which ultimately invade and destroy the cartilage and bone in the joint. The ligaments and tendons that support the joints are stretched and weakened that it gradually loses its shape and alignment causing pain and deformity.
What are the causes?
Doctors have not come up with a definite answer to the cause of this disease although some possibilities have been suggested. Many believe that this condition is caused by a bacterial infection in the joints. Others have suggested that a virus may be responsible for this, attacking those who may be susceptible due to genetic factors.
What are the symptoms?
Rheumatoid arthritis is manifested in discomfort of the joints and usually involving the same joints in both sides of the body. The joints of both hands or knees may become very tender, swollen, and inflamed. Bumps of tissues called rheumatoid nodules may be felt usually in the skins of the arm.
Stiffness in the morning may be felt which may last for long periods. Fever, fatigue, and weight loss may also be present and when tear and salivary glands are involved, the eyes and mouth may become dry.
In the initial stages, rheumatoid arthritis tends to attack the smaller joints found in the fingers and toes. As the disease develops further, it then spreads to the ankles, knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders.
Symptoms may differ in severity and occurrence. There might be periods where pain and swelling will be intense which is called flares and instances where no symptoms are felt. In due time, this condition may cause joints to be deformed and injure other organs.
Rheumatoid arthritis can truly be debilitating and may lead to major illnesses such heart problems and lung diseases. It has affected over three million Americans and many have resorted to surgeries such as hip replacements. This has further exposed them to additional risks especially with the adverse effects of hip implants which has led to litigations such as the DePuy hip replacement lawsuits.
Serious complications such as metal poisoning have been reported as a result of using these hip replacement systems. Product liability lawsuits continue to be filed while litigations have been scheduled in different locations. To learn more about DePuy ASR hip lawsuit , please visit depuyasrhiplawsuit.com.