Do you have pain, swelling and limitation of movement in your joints? Do you have to deal with stiffness in your joints for an hour in the morning? If these problems sound familiar to you, the cause may be ‘rheumatoid arthritis’, popularly known as inflammatory rheumatism! Dr. Esra Dilşat Bayrak, M.D. Rheumatology, Atakent Hospital, Acıbadem University talked about ‘false’ information about rheumatoid arthritis that was thought to be ‘fact’; made important recommendations and warnings.
Although rheumatoid arthritis, which affects 1 out of every hundred people in our country, usually affects the small joints of the hands and feet, large joints such as knees, shoulders and hips are often added to the disease table. When rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic disease, is not treated, loss of shape and function in the joints can develop. Therefore, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are extremely important in rheumatoid arthritis. Contrary to the common belief in the society, thanks to the medical developments experienced today, very successful results are obtained when early diagnosis and treatment are applied and the disease can be controlled. However, there are some erroneous information about rheumatoid arthritis in the society, which can prevent effective results from treatment.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs only in advanced age. FALSE!
FACT: Contrary to popular belief, rheumatoid arthritis is not only seen in old age. Although it most commonly develops in the 30-50 age range, it can affect any age group, including childhood.
Deformity develops in the joints. FALSE!
FACT: Rheumatologist Dr. Esra Dilşat Bayrak states that if the treatment is started early and the patient receives the treatment regularly, there is no loss of shape and function in the joints in rheumatoid arthritis, “However, permanent loss of shape and function may occur, especially in patients whose treatment is delayed.”
Rheumatoid arthritis is inherited. FALSE!
FACT: Some genetic changes in rheumatoid arthritis predispose to the disease. However, although the incidence of the disease in the family increases, rheumatoid arthritis does not pass directly from the patient to the child.
It improves with special diets and supplements. FALSE!
FACT: Rheumatoid arthritis is not a disease that can only be cured by some special diets. However, in addition to the treatments, some dietary adjustments and supplements, taking into account the clinical condition and additional diseases of the patients, are beneficial in alleviating the symptoms.
It is enough just to use medicine. FALSE!
FACT: Warning that “Medical treatment should be started as soon as rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed,” Dr. Esra Dilşat Bayrak said, “In addition to drug treatment, attention should also be paid to factors that will trigger the disease and adversely affect the treatment. Smoking must be stopped, appropriate diet and exercise must be started.”
Spa treatment is good for rheumatoid arthritis. FALSE!
FACT: Contrary to popular belief, spa and hot treatments are not recommended for inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The reason for this is that hot applications increase edema and inflammation in the joint, causing the disease to flare up. Patients with osteoarthritis, that is, osteoarthritis, can benefit from these treatments.
Rheumatoid arthritis only affects the joints. FALSE!
FACT: Although rheumatoid arthritis most commonly begins with pain and swelling in the joints of the hands and feet, these problems include eye (especially dry eye), lung (fluid accumulation in the lung membrane, deterioration in lung structure), cardiovascular diseases, blood count disorders, skin rash and kidney disease. Many systemic findings such as involvement can also be seen.
Exercising affects the disease badly. FALSE!
FACT: In rheumatoid arthritis, especially aerobic and resistance exercises reduce pain and help protect joint function. Underlining that regular sports also prevent joint limitations that may develop in the long term, Rheumatologist Dr. Esra Dilşat Bayrak, said, “For this reason, patients should exercise as recommended by their doctors, taking into account the joint involvement areas and additional diseases.”
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. FALSE!
FACT: In the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, drugs that stop the disease have been used for many years and very successful results are obtained. Emphasizing that in cases where there is no adequate response to the first-line treatment, they are switched to biological treatments with newer technology. Dr. Esra Dilşat Bayrak draws attention to the fact that today there are a wide variety of treatment options for both mild and severe disease groups.
The side effects of drugs used in treatment are many and risky. FALSE!
FACT: Rheumatologist Dr. Esra Dilşat Bayrak said, “All the drugs used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are drugs that we have experienced for years, and safety studies have been done,” and added further, “However, as with any drug, side effects need to be monitored. After starting the drugs, the patients are checked first in the 1st month and then every 3 months with blood checks and examination. These periods are further extended in patients who have been using drugs for a long time and have no side effects.”