Common Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Include:
- Small lumps of tissuecan develop under the skin around the joints.
- Heart problemsdue to inflamed blood vessels and decreased circulation.
- Nerve damage occurs when the nerve cells dont get enough blood flow.
- Higher risk of stroke
- Increased chance ofheart disease
- Lung scarringand other lung damage
- Chest pains
- Feeling tired all the time
- Enlarged spleen
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Vision problems
All things considered, roughly 15 percent of RA patients develop issues like heart disease, kidney problems, and eye conditions.
How Do You Take It
You can take methotrexate in either pills or shots. There are prefilled methotrexate shots that are easy to take at home.
You will take 7.5 to 10 milligrams each week. Your doctor may raise that to 20-25 milligrams per week if needed.
The pills will come with directions about how many to take and when. If youâre not sure about those instructions, ask your doctor or a pharmacist.
Shots work better for some people, especially if you forget to take your pills on schedule or if the pills cause nausea. Methotrexate liquid comes in vials with a hypodermic needle or in prefilled pens with various doses.
You inject the drug under the skin on your stomach or thigh. Your doctor or nurse will show you how to do this at home. If you use a prefilled pen, youâll stick the pen into your stomach or thigh and press on it to inject the drug. Try to give yourself your shot in a different spot each time. This will help you avoid skin reactions.
It can take 3 to 6 weeks to start to feel your methotrexate work. It takes even longer 12 weeks to get the full effects.
What Are The Four Stages Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The American College of Rheumatology has developed a system for classifying rheumatoid arthritis that is primarily based upon the X-ray appearance of the joints. This system helps medical professionals classify the severity of your rheumatoid arthritis with respect to cartilage, ligaments, and bone. The system defines the four stages of RA as follows:
- No damage was seen on X-rays, although there may be signs of bone thinning
Foods to avoid with RA
There is no special RA diet or dietcure for rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is thought that a healthy diet is an important complement to medication in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Research is suggesting that the different kinds of bacteria in our intestines has a big impact on rheumatoid arthritis. Diet is likely important, but we do not know of specific foods or food groups that should be universally avoided by individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
Diets higher in fish, grains, and vegetables decrease the risk of developing RA. The Western diet, defined as including more processed meats, increases the risk. It is not certain whether this is because of a direct anti-inflammatory effect of the fish, grains, and vegetables or because of changes in the natural bacteria in the gut.
Foods that fight RA inflammation
Supplements for RA
Exercises and home remedies for RA
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Methotrexate And Other Traditional Dmards
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are used used to slow or stop rheumatoid arthritis by suppressing the immune system. The generic names for commonly used DMARDs include:
Biologic drugs target and prevent a specific reaction from happening, stopping the inflammatory process.
This class of medications, called biologic response modifiers, is technically a subset of DMARDs. They may be used with traditional DMARDs or as an alternative to them. Biologics:
- Disrupt certain parts of the cascade of events that lead to RA inflammation and have the potential to stop the disease process.
- Increase a persons risk of infection and tend to be expensive. Because of these potential downsides, biologics are used when methotrexate or other DMARDs prove insufficient or cause unacceptable side-effects.
- May become less effective and/or cause worsening side effects over time. The doctor and patient can work together to monitor changes and decide if and when switching medication is advisable.
Testing for TuberculosisBefore taking any type of biologic medication, a person must be tested for tuberculosis. People who have latent tuberculosis carry the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium without having tuberculosis symptoms. If a person with latent tuberculosis takes immune-suppressing biologic medications the bacterium can multiply and cause symptomatic tuberculosis.
How Is Ra Diagnosed
RA is diagnosed by reviewing symptoms, conducting a physical examination, and doing X-rays and lab tests. Its best to diagnose RA earlywithin 6 months of the onset of symptomsso that people with the disease can begin treatment to slow or stop disease progression . Diagnosis and effective treatments, particularly treatment to suppress or control inflammation, can help reduce the damaging effects of RA.
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What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are many effective methods for decreasing the pain and inflammation and slowing down the disease process. Early diagnosis and effective treatment are very important.
Extensive research is being done to learn the cause of rheumatoid arthritis and the best methods of treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/17/2017.
Home Remedies For Arthritis But Only One Works
Arthritis is a common disease affecting millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of new cases are identified each year in the United States.
When you are suffering from arthritis, it quickly becomes clear that its not just joints that are affected. RA can also cause severe fatigue, fevers, weight loss, anemia, in addition to causing additional problems throughout the major organs . Sufferers often experience dry mouth, dry eyes, shortness of breath, damaged nerves, malaise, and small skin lumps, just to name a few.
So, how do you get relief? If you would prefer not to take prescription medications nor undergo surgery, there are several natural home remedies that have some reported rates of success in treating symptoms of RA. Want to know whats so great about these methods, in addition to getting some relief from your symptoms? The products used in these natural remedies are very easy to find. The following seven treatments are the most common homeopathic remedies. Bear in mind that response to these remedies will be different for each individual as the disease presents and progresses differently in each individual. Make sure to discuss with your doctor any home remedies that you are considering as they may interact with your body and prescription medications in ways that you did not realize.
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Are There Any Home Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis
If someone has joint pain or stiffness, he or she may think it is just a normal part of getting older and that there is nothing he or she can do. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are several options for medical treatment and even more to help prevent further joint damage and symptoms. Discuss these measures with a health-care professional to find ways to make them work.
- First of all, don’t delay diagnosis or treatment. Having a correct diagnosis allows a health-care professional to form a treatment plan. Delaying treatment increases the risk that the arthritis will get worse and that serious complications will develop.
- Learn everything about rheumatoid arthritis. If there are any questions, ask a health-care professional. If any questions remain, ask the health-care professional to provide reliable sources of information. Some resources are listed later in this article.
- Know the pros and cons of all of treatment options, and work with a health-care professional to decide on the best options. Understand the treatment plan and what benefits and side effects can be expected.
- Learn about the symptoms. If someone has rheumatoid arthritis, he or she probably has both general discomfort and pain in specific joints. Learn to tell the difference. Pain in a specific joint often results from overuse. Pain in a joint that lasts more than one hour after an activity probably means that that activity was too stressful and should be avoided.
Increase physical activity.
Are Biologics Safer Than Methotrexate
Oral drugs such as methotrexate can cause non-serious immediate side effects such as nausea and GI issues. They can also cause hair loss. “With biologics, we dont see those immediate side effects, but they have a potential for more serious side effectseven though we dont see them often, says Dr. Sharmeen. The most common biologics side effect is a skin reaction at the injection site. The most severe side effects are the potential for infection, including the reactivation of conditions such as tuberculosis and hepatitis B, increased risk of certain cancers, and liver damage.
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Who Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis
Diagnosing and treating rheumatoid arthritis requires a team effort involving you and several types of health care professionals. These may include:
- Rheumatologists, who specialize in arthritis and other diseases of the bones, joints, and muscles.
- Primary care providers, such as internists, who specialize in the diagnosis and medical treatment of adults.
- Orthopaedists, who specialize in the treatment of and surgery for bone and joint diseases or injuries.
- Physical therapists, who help to improve joint function.
- Occupational therapists, who teach ways to protect joints, minimize pain, perform activities of daily living, and conserve energy.
- Dietitians, who teach ways to eat a good diet to improve health and maintain a healthy weight.
- Nurse educators, who specialize in helping people understand their overall condition and set up their treatment plans.
- Mental health professionals, who help people cope with difficulties.
How Does The American College Of Rheumatology Develop Guidelines For Management Of Ra
A panel made up of patients, clinicians and policymakers weighs in on each recommendation based on the available evidence. When the panel is confident that the benefits of treatment outweigh potential harm, that treatment becomes a strong recommendation. However, if there is uncertainty about benefit versus harm, then it becomes a conditional recommendation.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Groups And Counseling
Living with the effects of rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult. Sometimes people can feel frustrated, perhaps even angry or resentful. Sometimes it helps to have someone to talk to.
This is the purpose of support groups. Support groups consist of people in the same situation. They come together to help each other and to help themselves. Support groups provide reassurance, motivation, and inspiration. They can help people see that their situation is not unique, and that gives them power. They also provide practical tips on coping with the disease.
Support groups meet in person, on the telephone, or on the Internet. Ask a health-care professional or contact the following organizations or look on the Internet to find a suitable support group. If someone does not have access to the Internet, go to the public library.
- Arthritis Foundation
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Different From Other Types Of Arthritis
People often confuse rheumatoid arthritis with other types of arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. In fact, there are several different types of inflammatory diseases that accompany arthritis that may or may not be rheumatoid arthritis.
Types of inflammatory arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: The most common form of inflammatory arthritis in which the bodys immune system attacks its own joints.
- Psoriatic arthritis: An inflammatory arthritis that usually develops in a person with psoriasis.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: A type of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine and sacroiliac joints located in the back of the pelvis.
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: The most common type of arthritis in children.
- Systemic lupus erythematous: A chronic autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain, skin rash and damage to internal organs.
The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, does not usually cause the degree of inflammation found in rheumatoid arthritis and is a different disease with different treatments.
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Blood Tests For Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are several types of blood tests that help your healthcare provider or rheumatologist determine whether you have RA. These tests include:
- Rheumatoid factor test. The RF blood test checks for a protein called rheumatoid factor. High levels of rheumatoid factor are associated with autoimmune diseases, especially RA.
- Anticitrullinated peptide antibody test . This test looks for an antibody thats associated with RA. People who have this antibody usually have the disease. However, not everyone with RA tests positive for this antibody. The anti-CCP test is more specific for RA than the RF blood test, and often is positive before the RF test.
- Antinuclear antibody test. The antinuclear antibody panel tests your immune system to see if its producing antibodies to the nucleus of cells. Your body often makes ANA antibodies as a response to many different types of autoimmune conditions, including RA.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The ESR test helps determine the degree of inflammation in your body. The result tells your doctor whether inflammation is present. However, it doesnt indicate the cause or site of the inflammation.
- C-reactive protein test. A severe infection or significant inflammation anywhere in your body can trigger your liver to make C-reactive protein. High levels of this inflammatory marker are associated with RA.
How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Entire Body
Like many autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis typically waxes and wanes. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience periods when their symptoms worsen separated by periods in which the symptoms improve. With successful treatment, symptoms may even go away completely .
Although rheumatoid arthritis can have many different symptoms, joints are always affected. Rheumatoid arthritis almost always affects the joints of the hands , wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and/or feet. The larger joints, such as the shoulders, hips, and jaw, may be affected. The vertebrae of the neck are sometimes involved in people who have had the disease for many years. Usually at least two or three different joints are involved on both sides of the body, often in a symmetrical pattern. The usual joint symptoms include the following:
These symptoms may keep someone from being able to carry out normal activities. General symptoms include the following:
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What Are Medical Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive inflammatory disease. This means that unless the inflammation is stopped or slowed, the condition will continue to worsen with joint destruction in most people. Although rheumatoid arthritis does occasionally go into remission without treatment, this is rare. Starting treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is strongly recommended. The best medical care combines medication and nondrug approaches.
Nondrug approaches include the following:
Drug approaches include a variety of medications used alone or in combinations.
What Happens In Ra
With continuous swelling and inflammation of your joints, the joint capsule remains stretched and can no longer hold the joint in its proper position. As a result, the joint may become unstable and this can lead to joint damage. The joints affected and the extent to which this happens varies a great deal from person to person. RA usually affects the small joints in your hands and feet, but it can affect many joints including your ankles, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and shoulders. The pain, stiffness, fatigue and whole-body symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be disabling and can lead to difficulty with daily activities. Effective treatment by a rheumatologist can prevent joint damage and reduce other symptoms of RA.
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Other Causes Of Hand And Finger Symptoms
RA hand symptoms can mimic those of other conditions, such as osteoarthritis. Some members of myRAteam discovered their hand pain was actually related to secondary Raynauds disease, a vascular condition that affects 10 percent to 20 percent of people with RA. Psoriatic arthritis, another autoimmune disease, can also cause hand and finger dysfunction as can pinched nerves in the neck.
A rheumatologist can diagnose the specific cause of symptoms in the hand with a physical exam and X-rays. X-rays can detect narrowing of joint space or erosions of the bone that could signal RA. Ultrasound and MRI technology has improved the ability to spot joint damage earlier in the course of the disease.
Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
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