Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes redness, pain, swelling or a hot (or warm) feeling in the lining of a joint. This inflammation slowly destroys cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the eyes, lungs or heart. Researchers believe that the inflammation is triggered by the body's immune system, which fights infection and heals injuries by producing masses of white blood cells at the injured site. Normally, the inflammation is controlled and the process is self-limiting, but in people with chronic rheumatoid arthritis, the process keeps going. The damage becomes worse because the immune system's attack does not stop and eventually causes destruction of cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments.
Home Medical Equipment for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
The equipment considerations for a patient with rheumatoid arthritis fall into the following categories.
- Daily living aids: Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis of the hands can benefit greatly from the many daily living aids available that compensate for loss of hand skills and fine motor dexterity. These items vary from built-up utensils to box top cutters and jar openers.
- Bath safety products: Grab bars, hand held showers, and tub transfer benches can improve safety and independence in the bathroom. Raised toilet seats and toilet assist arms can make it much easier for someone with rheumatoid arthritis to raise themselves from the toilet. A padded tub transfer bench might provide both comfort for painful joints and safety for arthritis sufferers.
- Mobility devices: From a simple cane to an elaborate power wheelchair, people with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from products that offer safety, mobility, and independence.