How to Deal with Arthritis in the Fingers

arthritis in fingersar

A dear family member in her early 60s has been dealing with arthritis in her hands for a few years now. Already the joints in her fingers are enlarged and beginning to look a little gnarled. To my mind, she is way too young to have hands that look so old. In fact, they look about 20 years older than the rest of her. And it makes me a bit nervous for my own future because I wonder about genetic influences since I have experienced random arthritis pain in my hands, including some debilitation at various times throughout my 30s and 40s.

When we talk about arthritis in general, we are referring to inflammation. While there are over 100 different kinds of arthritis, loosely speaking, there are two basic categories. First, is osteoarthritis which is the pain, stiffness, and swelling associated with the wear and tear of the joints from use and age. It doesn’t happen to everyone as they age. However, “it is the most common chronic condition of the joints” and is also called degenerative joint disease, says the Arthritis Foundation. Of course, there are other conditions that can lead to osteoarthritis, such as excess weight and genetics. But it’s the second basic arthritis category that is of interest for this discussion regarding arthritis in fingers. And that is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It can affect any joint in the body, including the hands and fingers.

RA Symptoms in Hands and Fingers

Like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis is one of those conditions for which we do not know the cause. There are many theories for both. In fact, many with fibro suffer from RA as well. But you don’t have to have gnarled hands to know you have rheumatoid arthritis. Experts offer additional symptoms to watch out for:

  • Hand pain, finger pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Hand joints and finger joints that are warm and tender to the touch
  • The same joints affected on both sides of your body (both wrists, for instance)
  • Misshapen finger joints
  • Carpal tunnel symptoms such as numbness and tingling of the hands
  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness that last for more than an hour when you wake up

Treatment of Arthritis in Fingers/Hands

You see, RA is an autoimmune disease. In this case, that means the immune system is attacking the joints. Inflammation is the body’s way of getting rid of unwanted invaders, like viruses, germs, and the like. So, in a healthy immune system, inflammation can be a good thing. But with RA, it causes damage to the cartilage between the bones and can lead to instability, loss of joint mobility, and even deformity. Of course, this doesn’t happen without some substantial degree of pain. Sadly, it is irreversible. That’s why the most effective way to treat RA is by addressing it early and aggressively. In other words, the earlier you catch it and address it, the less likely it is to debilitate you in the long run. So, if you know you have some or all of the above symptoms, but have not yet been diagnosed, it’t important to see your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible.

The primary objective is to reduce inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation explains this further, in that the goals of treating RA are to:

  • Stop inflammation (put disease in remission)
  • Relieve symptoms
  • Prevent joint and organ damage
  • Improve physical function and overall well-being
  • Reduce long-term complications

Genetic Concerns?

Not knowing what exactly causes RA is a problem when it comes to figuring out how to prevent it. Researchers have determined that there are genetic markers for it. Specifically, people with the marker “HLA shared epitope have a fivefold greater chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis than do people without the marker. The HLA genetic site controls immune responses. Other genes connected to RA include: STAT4, a gene that plays important roles in the regulation and activation of the immune system; TRAF1 and C5, two genes relevant to chronic inflammation; and PTPN22, a gene associated with both the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Yet not all people with these genes develop RA and not all people with the condition have these genes [emphasis added].”

So, yes. It’s possible to develop arthritis in your hands and fingers due to genetic predispositions. But it’s no guarantee. Personally, I am far more concerned about the effects of stress which can lead to RA. First of all, we know that stress is responsible for up to approximately 90% of all doctor’s visits. Secondly, the times that the joint pain in my hands and fingers has been debilitating is when I was under intense stress. The point is that there are clearly many things that can lead to arthritis in your fingers, but again, the key is to address it quickly and aggressively. Are you one of those who experiences both RA and fibromyalgia? Have you found an effective treatment? Please tell us your story.

Comments

comments

  • kelis foster

    TOTALLY CURED

    (Herbal Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA))
    I first lost my ability to stand up from a sitting position due to total body weakness. The physician I saw that same week ran a blood test and told me it appeared to be rheumatoid arthritis (RA) few weeks later i came across a testimony of one lady on the internet testifying about a herbal medicine home called perfecthealthherbalmedicinehome,run by dr sithuu, on how they cured her of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And she also gave the email address of the herbal home and advised everybody to contact for help for any kind of diseases , so I emailed them,they replied and told me not to worry and they promised to cure me totally. Well i never believed it,,but i was so desperate,so i purchased the herbal medicine, well after used as prescribed, few weeks later i started experiencing changes,after 3 weeks usage i went to my doctor to confirmed if am finally cured of rheumatoid arthritis (RA),behold it was TRUE,i was totally cured , So friends my advise is if you have such disease or any other at all you can contact them via email: perfecthealthherbalmedicine gmail’com or website www’perfecthealthherbal weebly’com
    and I have two friends who have been cured by perfect health recently. they are very dedicated and knowledgeable. Thank you perfect health herbal medicine home …

  • Ann Lee

    My name is Ann Lee, i was doing very great until one morning i woke up with painful joints all over couldn’t even move an inch, my mum called our family doctor for check-up and i was took to the hospital later did i found out that i was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, i bought lots of medicine as told but nothing worked out a friend of mine told me to contact Standard Herbs Home for herbal remedy which a friend of his also contacted when he was diagnosed of Rheumatoid Arthritis and they really helped him, so i contacted Standard Herbs Home and i purchased the herbal remedy and after 4 months i went for check-up and i was cured from Rheumatoid Arthritis, God bless you Standard Herbs Home.