What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Did you know: Arthritis is the leading cause of work disability in the United States, affecting roughly 23% of adults (more than 54 million people!). Of that total, about 24 million say arthritis limits their daily activities.
There are two types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA) produces joint pain as the result of gradual wear and tear on the body; the condition occurs slowly and generally affects people later in life.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the patient’s immune system mistakes the body’s healthy tissues for foreign invaders and attacks, causing pain and inflammation. RA can affect patients of all ages and generally occurs rapidly, sometimes manifesting in less than one month.
A key difference in symptoms is that RA affects the entire body, while OA usually affects a single set of joints (such as the hips, finger joints, or knees). Patients with RA are more likely to experience swelling.
RA is far less common than OA, affecting an estimated 1% of the world’s population.
Symptoms of RA include:
- Pain, swelling, and stiffness in multiple joints
- Symmetrical joint involvement
- Joint deformity
- General feeling of illness, weakness, and fatigue
- Unsteadiness when walking
- Loss of mobility
- Weight loss
Symptoms usually begin in the hands and feet before spreading to other joints and organs. As noted above, RA can manifest suddenly or occur gradually over time.
Symptoms come and go, ranging from absent to severe. The nature of the symptoms can cause depression, anxiety, stress, and difficulty maintaining a job.
Women and individuals over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of developing RA, as are people who smoke tobacco, have smoked tobacco, have never given birth, and are overweight/obese.
Individuals with RA have a higher risk of anemia, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Researchers still do not know what causes the body to attack its own tissue, although some patients appear to have genetic traits making RA more likely. A common theory is that a virus or bacteria triggers the onset of RA in people with certain genetic traits.
There is no cure for RA. Treatment options include physical therapy, medications, counseling, occupational therapy, and surgery.
Researchers are currently studying C B D, a chemical compound found in the c a n n a b i s plant, as an alternative treatment for joint pain, anxiety, and depression.
Studies suggest C B D can ease joint pain by binding to immune system receptors (called C B 2s) that help manage pain and inflammation. Early studies suggest C B D may ease join pain in patients with OA.
C B D is an attractive option for arthritis patients because it is all-natural and produces few if any side effects. C B D is legal in the US and will not make you feel “high.”