Symptoms, treatment, nursing interventions and medications for rheumatoid arthritis. NCLEX review conference.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. It specifically affects the lining of the joint membrane called the synovial membrane. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to complete bone fusion and severe immobility.
The stages of rheumatoid arthritis include: synovitis, pannus formation and bone ankylosis.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include: soft, tender, warm, and swollen joints. The patient will feel very tired and will experience fever.
RA affects the same joints bilaterally, therefore it is symmetrical. In addition, stiffness and pain are worse in the mornings (more than 30 minutes or more) or after long periods of inactivity.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects all types of joints. In contrast, osteoarthritis tends to affect joints that support weight.
Most commonly, the fingers and wrist are affected in rheumatoid arthritis, but they can also affect the neck, shoulders, elbows, ankles, knee and feet. RA not only affects the joints but can extend to the heart, skin, eyes, mouth, lungs and cause anemia. In osteoarthritis, the joints are only affected, not the system.
The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis includes: heat and cold therapy, use of assistive devices, physical exercise (ROM and low impact aerobics) along with plans for rest periods, always resting an inflamed joint, medications: NSAIDs, corticosteroids and DMARD and surgery. There is no cure for RA.
Nursing interventions for rheumatoid arthritis include: pain control, preservation of joints (their function, mobility and how to use assistive devices), education (medications and non-pharmacological treatments), mental state (to treat depression and improve self-esteem, increase energy level, etc.)
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