Rheumatoid Arthritis

rheumatoid-arthritis-disease-treatment

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 16, 2019

Seven Tips for Coping with Arthritis Flares

3f27c221

If you have arthritis, you are all too familiar with these feelings: stiff, swollen joints, overwhelming fatigue. This magnification of symptoms is called a flare, and they can happen to anyone with arthritis. What triggers a flare is not clear, but by working with your doctor, you can manage the pain and fatigue and keep […]

Read More »

Sep 9, 2019

Arthritis Dos and Don’ts

a606a134

Arthritis Dos and Don’ts There is a lot of advice about how to ease arthritis pain and stiffness with exercise, medication, and stress reduction. But how do you know what will work for you? Take charge of your diagnosis by following these simple dos and don’ts. As a result, you can enjoy life more and […]

Read More »

Aug 16, 2019

Five Common Exercise Hurdles with Arthritis and How to Overcome Them

90239f04

Exercise plays a key role in managing arthritis symptoms. Unfortunately, starting and maintaining an exercise program when you have arthritis isn’t that simple. Here are five ideas to help you overcome those common exercise hurdles. Pain. If pain is holding you back from being active, take a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory over-the-counter pain reliever before you exercise. […]

Read More »