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.

Nov 14, 2019

Six Strategies for Keeping Stress at Bay During the Holidays

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Many people look forward to the holiday season and the start of a new year. It provides an opportunity to spend quality time with family, take some off of work, and celebrate traditions. While this can be a fun and joyous time, it can also be very stressful. Unfortunately, chronic conditions don’t take a break […]

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Nov 7, 2019

Seven Important Sleep Tips for Arthritis Sufferers

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Darkness is settling in sooner, plants are shedding their leaves, and animals are prepping for the cold. It’s obvious that nature is telling us it is time to slow down, and if you suffer from arthritis, you must listen. Fall is here, so that means it’s time to settle in sooner and get plenty of […]

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Oct 16, 2019

Five Best Spices for Arthritis

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Certain foods have been identified as anti-inflammatories and can help reduce chronic pain for arthritis sufferers. One easy way to incorporate these into your diet is through spices. And although a dash of cinnamon on your toast won’t be super helpful, many of these spices can pack a punch when you consume them throughout the […]

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