Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disease which affects 1% of the population.

That means there are at least 3 million people in the United States who have rheumatoid arthritis.

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown but we do know that genetic and environmental factors play a role. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include swollen, painful joints and generalized stiffness especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

Some patients may present with an explosive onset of multiple swollen joints initially, but the more common presentation is a slower onset of flare-ups and modest remissions over many months with a gradual decline in function associated with increasing joint symptoms.  The most common joints involved are the small joints of the hands and feet as well as the wrists, however any joint may be involved.

A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is made by an experienced rheumatologist who listens carefully to your history, performs a detailed physical exam with special interest in your joints, and then also reviews laboratories and x-ray findings including special tests called rheumatoid factors and CCP antibodies. Your rheumatologist will then devise a treatment strategy for you. Emphasis on treating your symptoms of joint pain and swelling as well as preventing deformity and disability is important.

You may require a number of medications to reduce inflammation and prevent joint destruction as part of your treatment plan. Newer therapies over the last fifteen years have changed peoples’ lives with rheumatoid arthritis. Complete remissions are now more common place where in the past these were not. Aggressive early intervention is a key principal of treatment in this day and time.

Methotrexate

Methotrexate has been used for over 30 years as the foundation of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. It can frequently make people feel much better but may not prevent long-term joint destruction. Newer medications called biologics have been used in combination with methotrexate to bring about improvement in symptoms, prevent joint destruction, and keep patients living normal productive lives. Rheumatologists are experts at using these medications and monitoring for potential side effects. The outlook is much brighter for patients with rheumatoid arthritis these days thanks to significant he answered truthfully he is improvements in therapies.

Jul 14, 2019

Ways to Stop Negative Feelings that can Intensify Arthritis Pain

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Chronic pain can easily turn your life into a vicious cycle of pain feeding pessimism. Feeling down because of arthritis is expected to a certain degree, but if your mindset becomes totally pessimistic you are actually allowing your pain to increase. If you’re feeling cynical and hopeless, you are less likely to be compliant with […]

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Jul 5, 2019

Six Tips to Slow Down your Busy Life with Arthritis

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Constantly managing an overloaded calendar and saying yes without allowing time for a break can be crippling for arthritis patients. For many people with arthritis, it’s hard to let your disease take control, so many patients overcompensate with packed schedules and too many commitments. However, this kind of behavior can take a physical, mental, and […]

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Jun 12, 2019

Six Tips to Make Grocery Shopping Made Easier with Arthritis

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Shopping for groceries can be overwhelming and exhausting for those with arthritis. The key to success is being prepared and employing the right combination of strategy and outside help. Keep reading to learn how! Plan ahead. Plan your grocery trip around when you usually feel your best and most energetic. Remember to consider the time […]

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