Is There A Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Is There A Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Is There A Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Is There A Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that cannot be cured. But even as the disease progresses, new disease-modifying drugs may be able to slow or even stop it from getting worse. “We have many effective treatments for RA that help control the symptoms of pain and stiffness, but also prevent the progression of the disease and the development of permanent damage,” said Lindsay Lally, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The city.

Early treatment of RA is key, because any joint damage that has already occurred cannot be reversed. Find out how to recognize the symptoms at each stage of RA, and what can be done to treat it.

Is There A Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the autoimmune process of RA, the body mistakenly attacks the connective tissue. “At the beginning of RA, the patient may not have many symptoms except for some stiffness in the morning, mainly in the small limbs – hands, feet, sometimes knees,” said Rajat Bhatt, MD, orthopedic surgeon in Allergy and Rheumatology. Houston Professionals. Stiffness will improve with movement, which distinguishes it from osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” type that goes down.

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Ideally at this time you will see a specialist called a rheumatologist. The only problem is that symptoms can be vague or even go away, which makes diagnosing RA difficult. Dr. “Ra can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages,” says Lally. “Many times patients with early RA will have joint pain without RA inflammation. “Furthermore, in early-onset arthritis there may be only one affected joint with evidence of inflammation compared to the classic presentation of RA, which usually involves the small joints of the hands and feet equally.”

Dr. Lally says, however, that antibodies can be present in the blood for years before symptoms appear. In addition, “although X-rays at this time are normal, critical thinking like ultrasound can show fluid or inflammation in the affected organ,” Dr. Lally says. Still, a positive diagnosis of RA is difficult early on because although these signs of inflammation may show up in blood tests, they may not show up, said Dr. Bhatt. Ultrasound may or may not show anything abnormal.

In many cases, RA progresses to the second stage without being diagnosed. “In the second stage the body makes antibodies [shown in the blood to be active] and the organs start to swell,” said Dr. Bhatt. “It can affect other organ systems and cause inflammation there: lungs, eyes, rashes, and it can also affect the heart.” Lumps on the elbows called rheumatoid nodules can also develop. (Remember, however, that some people have what is known as seronegative RA, where blood tests do not reveal antibodies such as rheumatoid factor or anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, or anti-CCP.)

When it comes to imaging results, “stage two is more likely to confirm the diagnosis,” says Dr. Bhatt. “It looks like it’s been eaten by a moth, it was ripped off on the X-ray. Ultrasound can be done, and the most sensitive is MRI, which can show if there are any problems even if the X-ray is normal.”

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In this last, worst stage, blood tests and imaging are not very useful for diagnosis because you can see the effects of the disease. Dr. Bhatt says: “The joints start to bend and become deformed, the fingers become crooked. These misshapen joints can press on nerves and can cause nerve pain as well, he said. “In the old days we used to see paralyzed limbs when we didn’t have a lot of treatment, but now we see less,” said Dr. Bhatt.

If left untreated, the disease will progress to the final stage, where “there is no limb left at all and the joint is fused,” says Dr. Bhatt. Fortunately, with treatment, people with RA do not reach this stage.

“You’ll know — your organs will tell you,” said Dr. Bhatt. “The pain will be worse and you may have more swelling.” Dr. Lally says that although periods of pain may resolve on their own in the early stages of RA, “these conditions tend to recur and last for a long time until the old RA symptoms persist.” In addition, Dr. Bhatt says that ignoring non-communicable symptoms such as shortness of breath or red, sore eyes can be symptoms of RA affecting other systems in the body. Let your doctor know if your RA symptoms change at all.

Various factors affect the rate and progression of RA in individual patients. Some things you can’t control, like having a family history of the disease. In addition, although women are more likely to get RA, when men get arthritis, their disease is more severe, Dr. Bhatt says.

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But there are things you can control and change. Dr. Lally says: “We know that smoking makes RA more aggressive, so stop smoking.” Also, people who “do heavy manual work may put more stress on the joints and move faster,” says Dr. Bhatt. If your workplace can accommodate your illness, that will help. Learn more about making it easier to work with arthritis.

Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce stress on joints, Dr. Bhatt says. But talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. “A physical therapist can advise patients on the best way to exercise,” he says. “If patients are doing the wrong exercises it can put more stress on the joints.” Additionally, getting enough sleep, starting an anti-inflammatory diet, eating less red meat, and possibly using herbal remedies like turmeric can help control RA, Dr. Bhatt says. Here are some healthy habits you can adopt if you have RA.

Perhaps the biggest factor affecting how RA progresses is whether or not a specialist can put you on medication to slow the progression of the disease. “Being on DMARD or biologic therapy for RA is the best way to prevent progression,” says Dr. Lally.

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often the first line of treatment. “Methotrexate [DMARD] is the anchor drug for rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr. Bhatt says. “Some patients are afraid because methotrexate is also used for chemotherapy so they don’t want to take the ‘chemo pill,’ but the ones we use for RA are very low doses with little chance of side effects.” Your doctor will reassess in a month or so and see if it is necessary to add more drugs.

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“If after three to six months they still don’t respond then we move on to drugs called biologics,” Dr. Bhatt says. These engineered drugs target the inflammatory process directly, and are usually injected or administered through an IV at your doctor’s office or medical center. “There are subclasses and subtypes,” Dr. Bhatt said. Your doctor will try different medications to see which one you respond to best.

Rheumatologists follow a “treatment-to-target” strategy when it comes to managing disease and preventing progression. This means treating the disease as quickly as possible until a treatment goal, such as low disease activity, is reached.

“The concept of targeted therapy is a partnership between the patient and the doctor to get RA to a state of low disease activity or remission,” said Dr. Lally. “This method requires routine examinations every three months. If there is evidence that the RA is not adequately controlled, the medication regimen is changed in an effort to reach the target point of remission.”

But, Dr. Bhatt says. “there is a balance – if we treat RA too harshly it can cause side effects; at the same time we don’t want to leave persistent joint inflammation.” Functionality and the level of control of RA the patient wants, the main goal is normal joints and minimal activity of the disease within the specified period.

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Thanks to new treatments available — and more on the horizon — RA doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of disability or limited mobility. Dr. “It’s not inevitable these days,” says Bhatt. “People can live normal lives.”

But patients should be sure to follow the treatment plan and the doctor’s advice. “Regular follow-up with a rheumatologist who performs joint examinations, follows the levels of systemic inflammation in the blood and can evaluate the activity is the best way to ensure that RA is controlled and does not progress,” said Dr. Lally.

This video is part of an educational project from researchers at Yale University, Berkshire Medical Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Hospital for Special Surgery, and the Global Healthy Living Foundation, and ArthritisPower. Made possible with support from the Rheumatology Research Foundation. Watch other videos in this series here.

Is a digital community of millions of arthritis patients and caregivers worldwide seeking education, support, advocacy, and patient-centered research. We represent patients through our popular social media channels, our website, and our 50-State Network, which includes nearly 1,500 volunteer-trained patient, caregiver and healthcare professionals. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis.

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