VOL: 98, ISSUE: 46, PAGE NO: 30EPIDEMIOLOGY
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of chronic inflammatory joint disease. It is a systemic disease but with most notable effect on synovial joints. The prevalence of RA is 1.16% in women and 0.44% in men in the UK. The disease starts most commonly in the age range 30-60 years.
There is no known cause for RA but it is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue. Development of this autoimmunity is thought to be initiated by microbial infection, possibly viruses in genetically susceptible people. There are no specific risk factors for RA.
- In the majority of patients the onset is insidious, with joint pain, stiffness and symmetrical swelling of peripheral joints.
- A full health history should be taken and a physical examination performed.
- Drug therapy - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS).
Assessment of pain, swelling, tenderness, limitation of movement, fatigue and joint deformities.
Linton A, et al (2000)Introductory Nursing Care of Adults. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company.