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.

Sep 15, 2018

Four Alternative Therapies to Help Ease Arthritis Pain

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Dealing with joint pain and stiffness from arthritis is a daily challenge. While traditional treatments work to control inflammation and disease progression, there are many alternative therapies that can help with pain. Often the idea of self-health, alternative treatments, or even just the simple act of pressing pause on our daily grind can be such […]

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Sep 10, 2018

Six Tips to Help Make Every Day Activities Easier with Arthritis

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Our bodies go through a lot every day. For most, that nagging joint pain isn’t due to a tough gym session or a heavy duty yard day. For those that suffer from arthritis, ordinary and routine activities are the surprising culprits behind these aches and pains. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help […]

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Aug 14, 2018

Reclaim: 6 Tips for Managing Arthritis at Work

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Managing arthritis symptoms can be a job in itself. Combine the aches and pains of a chronic illness and the aches and pains of a career, and life can become a struggle. Fortunately, implementing a few simple guidelines can help get you through your day comfortably. Try these six tips for managing arthritis at work. […]

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