Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, life-altering autoimmune disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system. It has become an increasingly prominent health concern in recent years.
Although the prevalence of this debilitating condition is well-documented in many parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and Asia, there is an alarming lack of data regarding the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in Nigeria.
This article will examine the current research on the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in Nigeria and its implications for public health and policy.
By better understanding the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in Nigeria, we can reduce the number of people affected by this condition and promote better health outcomes for those living with rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the joints. It causes inflammation of the lining tissue of the joints, resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness.
The inflammation can also affect other bodily organs, such as the eyes, skin, and lungs. In most cases, rheumatoid arthritis affects multiple joints simultaneously, especially in the hands and feet.
As earlier said, it is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body. It is estimated that this condition affects 1% of the population in Nigeria, making it one of the most common forms of arthritis.
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown. Still, it is believed to be related to genetic factors, environmental exposures, and hormones.
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent long-term joint damage and disability. Therefore, people with rheumatoid arthritis should work with their healthcare provider to find a treatment plan that works best for them.
The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are pain or aching in more than one joint, fatigue or tiredness, stiffness in more than one joint, weight loss, weakness, and tenderness and swelling in more than one joint.
These symptoms may appear gradually over weeks or months to cause inflammation and pain in the affected joints.
In severe cases, the joints can become deformed from an accumulation of fluid and tissue damage. Other symptoms include low-grade fevers that don’t improve with rest.
Some people also experience chest pain when breathing deeply due to their inflamed lungs.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause anemia or dry eyes and mouth due to certain medications used to treat the condition.
Suppose you are experiencing any of these symptoms. In that case, you must speak with your doctor as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Treating RA (rheumatoid arthritis)
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
These medications are designed to reduce inflammation, slow the progression of the disease, improve joint function, and reduce pain and disability.
In addition to medications, other treatments such as physical or occupational therapy, lifestyle changes, and surgery may be recommended.
Exercise can be beneficial in helping to relieve symptoms by increasing the range of motion, strengthening muscles around the joints, and improving overall health.
Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help with symptom management. In addition, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or massage may also be used to help manage pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
People with this condition need to work with their doctor to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets their needs.
What Are The Risk Factors For Rheumatoid Arthritis?
As with any disease, there are risk factors that can lead to the development of RA. These risk factors include sex, age, smoking, obesity, genetics/inherited traits, and history of live births.
Sex: Women are two to three times more likely to develop RA than men. This is likely due to hormonal differences between the sexes.
Age: RA is much more common in adults than in children, with the highest rate of onset occurring between the ages of 40 and 50.
Smoking: Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for RA. Smokers are three times more likely to develop RA compared to nonsmokers.
Obesity: Obesity increases the risk of developing RA. Obese individuals have a much higher risk of developing RA than those who maintain a healthy weight.
Genetics/Inherited Traits: A family history of RA increases the risk of developing it. In addition, certain genes are known to be associated with an increased risk of RA.
History of Live Births: Women with at least one live birth are at an increased risk of RA.
These are the primary risk factors for developing RA. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor if you have any of these risk factors or are experiencing any signs and symptoms of RA.
The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in Nigeria is an important issue that requires further investigation. Multiple studies have reported a high prevalence of the condition in the country, which has been attributed to genetic and environmental factors.
It is important to increase awareness among the general population and continue to conduct further research on the disease to develop more effective treatments and interventions.
With the right resources and initiatives, Nigeria can make significant progress in reducing the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis and providing better care for those affected by the condition.
Recommended reading The Prevalence Of Eye Diseases In Nigeria
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