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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Bone, Muscle and Joint Disorders Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease of body joints. It is an autoimmune disorder which causes inflammation of lining surfaces of the body joints resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and altered functional capability of that joint. It involves small joints first. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect the tissues around the joint and even it can affect the other organs of the body. As this disease can affect the other organs of the body so it is sometimes referred to as Rheumatoid Disease.

 

It is a chronic disease so a patient can have symptom free disease duration which may last for several years. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a progressive disease which leads to gradual destruction of the body joints involved resulting in altered functional capability of that joint. The disease more commonly affects female sex; it’s three times more common in females as compared to males


Signs and Symptoms

  • Morning stiffness of the joints involved which may last for few hours

  • Disease affects body joints in a symmetrical manner i.e. both side joints are affected

  • Sometimes joint stiffness may occur after inactivity

  • Affected joints are typically swollen, red and puffy along with moderate to severe pain

  • Some patients do have nodules beneath the skin known as Rheumatoid nodules

  • Fatigue

  • Spells of fever

  • Malaise

  • Weight loss

  • Joints are painful to touch

  • Anemia

  • Dry mouth

  • Loss of apetite

Complications

  • Joint deformity

  • Anemia

  • Blood vessel inflammation

  • Lung inflammation

  • Pleural effusion

  • Pericarditis

  • Pulmonary Fibrosis

Diagnosis and Tests

Treatment and Drugs

  • Pain relieving medications i.e. NSAID’S like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Ibuprofen are the first step of therapy to treat pain, inflammation and stiffness of joints. Their side effects include gastric disorders

  • Opioids can also be used to relieve severe longstanding pain

  • DMARD’S (Disease Modifying anti Rheumatic drugs) like corticosteroids, sulfasalazine and cyclosporine etc. can be used to treat some advanced cases

  • TNF (Tumor Necrosis factor) Blockers like etanercept, infliximab etc., are a good option. These drugs are known as biologics and have shown to decrease the pace of the disease. The only limitation with these disease is that they increase the risk of infections as they suppress the immune system of the body

  • In some case surgeries like total joint replacement, synovium or joint lining replacement can be advised by the doctor