Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects around 3 million Americans. It results in inflammation involving the joints leading to chronic pain, swelling, stiffness and eventual loss of function and disability if left untreated. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects people between the ages of 25-45 and those over the age of 65. Patients with RA are also at significantly increased risk of certain blood cancers and lymphoma.
Pain, swelling and stiffness of small joints of hands and feet
Fever and weight loss
Eye inflammation, redness and pain
X-rays are used to monitor joint damage over time.
Symptoms of joint swelling/stiffness involving the hands and feet as well as laboratory studies
confirming positive antibodies in the blood.
Oral and intra-muscular steroids
DMARDS (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs)
Treatment has advanced tremendously in the past 10-15 yrs. This is an exciting time for patients suffering with RA because our goal now for them is complete remission of their disease and halting of joint damage. With new advancements in immune modifying drugs as well as continous research and new medications emerging , this is certainly a very realistic possibility. The single most important factor in minimizing joint damage and disability is early diagnosis and treatment by a rheumatologist.