Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2018, Paddy McGuinness is living proof that the condition can affect younger people – he was 44 at the time of diagnosis. What are the symptoms, and how can it be remedied? In an Instagram post, Paddy said at the time: “Nursing a poorly shoulder today. “I had an ultra sound steroid injection in it yesterday. The reason, arthritis? I’m 44!”
The charity Versus Arthritis explained: “Steroid injections are often recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
“The injection can reduce inflammation, which in turn should reduce pain.”
Although helpful in managing the symptoms of the condition, steroid injections can’t address the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition whereby the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues.
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Inflammation in the joints causes pain, swelling and stiffness, which can worsen quickly without treatment.
This is because extra fluid is sent to the area unnecessarily, and the joint may become unstable and move into an unusual position.
Other symptoms of the condition can include:
- A poor appetite
- Weight loss
- A high temperature
- Dry eyes
- Chest pain
Most cases of rheumatoid arthritis begin in the hand and feet joints, but it can affect any joint in the body.
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The condition can affect anybody, with more than 400,000 people over the age of 16 diagnosed with the disease in the UK.
“The sooner you start treatment, the more effective it’s likely to be,” said Versus Arthritis.
Medications prescribed to relieve painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
“The outlook for people with rheumatoid arthritis is improving all the time, as new and more effective treatments become available,” said the charity.
“It is possible to lead a full and active life with the condition, but it is important to take your medication as prescribed and make necessary lifestyle changes.”
In regards to diet, lifestyle changes can include increasing vitamin C intake and decreasing how much red meat you eat.
When it comes to physicality, as well as exercising regularly, it’s helpful to maintain a healthy weight to alleviate painful symptoms.
In addition, people diagnosed with the condition are strongly advised not to smoke, as this can worsen the disease.
There are other pain relief methods, such as using hot and cold therapy.
This involves placing either a hot water bottle on the painful joint (hot therapy), or placing an ice pack (cold therapy) on the affected area.
People may benefit from hydrotherapy, which is when you exercise in a warm-water pool.
All options available to the individual affected can be discussed with medical experts.
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