Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful autoimmune disease that can cause pain in the hands and other limbs as well as nerve damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. Women, even those who are still young enough to bear children, are three times more likely to suffer from this inflammatory condition than men.
Time Frame and Overall Incidence
Women are most likely to suffer from the hand pain and nerve damage that characterizes rheumatoid arthritis between the ages of 40 and 60, according to the Mayo Clinic. About 1.3 million Americans suffer from the illness and more than 70 percent of these patients are women, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Women as young as 30 years old can develop rheumatoid arthritis.
A precise scientific reason why rheumatoid arthritis happens has not been determined as of 2010, according to the Mayo Clinic. For whatever reason, the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues and joints as if they were foreign material; this creates the hand pain so often associated with this autoimmune disease.
This condition can cause pain, swelling and possible nerve damage in the feet, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some women who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are also plagued with attacks of fever and fatigue.
Rheumatoid arthritis, left untreated, can lead to partial or even total disability due to nerve and joint damage in the affected limbs, according to the Arthritis Foundation. However, there is no cure for the illness; medication management and sometimes physical therapy can help alleviate the symptoms and halt further complications.
If you have or might have rheumatoid arthritis, you can use several at-home therapies which might help alleviate your discomfort and reduce your chances of losing the ability to perform everyday tasks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Regular gentle exercise, especially water aerobics, can help strengthen your joints without the chance of additional pain and damage to the affected parts of your body. Applying cold compresses or heat pads, depending upon your preference and results, may also help soothe painful joints and nerves. You can soak your arms and any other painful body parts in hot water for four minutes followed by a one-minute soak in cold water. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, can also go a long way toward relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.