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Treatment For

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) causes inflammation of the lining of the joints, especially in the hands and fingers. RA is a progressive disease and symptoms typically get worse. If left untreated, it can cause real damage to the joints and some severe complications in the major organs.

Causes

RA is an autoimmune condition caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue. Many possible triggers can start the onset of RA. Your immune system normally makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses, helping to fight infection. In RA, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, including joints. In some severe cases, it attacks internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis affects joint linings, causing painful swelling. Over long periods, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity.

Do I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

RA is a complex disease that is diagnosed based upon a person’s history, exam, lab findings, and x-rays. This condition cannot be diagnosed based solely on lab tests and therefore may take your doctor multiple visits to confirm a diagnosis.

Here are some of the common early symptoms of RA:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Slight fever
  • Weight loss
  • Stiffness
  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint redness

Tests commonly used to diagnose RA include:

  • Rheumatoid factor
  • Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
  • Antinuclear Antibody (ANA)
  • Imaging can also confirm the presence of RA

Once you are confirmed to have RA, it is important for you to understand there are treatments but no cure. Treatments can help slow the disease’s progression and help you to live a normal life.

“In order to diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis with certainty, we conduct an exam with medical testing.”

Dr. Kenneth Lawlor

Living with RA

A majority of RA patients can live a healthy, active life with RA. It is difficult to predict the exact impact that RA will have on a person’s life or life expectancy because the course of the disease differs significantly between people. The goal of RA treatment is for patients to go back to doing their normal everyday activities.

Here are some of the common medications for RA

  • NSAIDs. -Most people with RA are advised to take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to decrease pain and inflammation.
  • Steroids (Corticosteroids).
  • Methotrexate and Other Traditional DMARDs.
  • Biologics for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Janus Kinase (JAK) Inhibitors.

A doctor can explain these treatments in more detail and the pros and cons of each. With treatment you can have a better life and in most cases live a healthy and active lifestyle. If you are experiencing potential symptoms of RA and you live near our office we would love to see if we could possibly help you with your RA symptoms.