Starting And Raising A Family
If you are taking medicines for rheumatoid arthritis, let your healthcare team know if you want to start a family or if you are worried about becoming pregnant while on medication.
Some medications, such as methotrexate, leflunomide and biological treatments, should not be taken by men or women while they are trying for a baby. The doctors and nurses will work with you to ensure your rheumatoid arthritis is controlled while you are trying to get pregnant.
Babies and young children are physically and mentally demanding for any parent, but particularly so if you have rheumatoid arthritis. If you are struggling to cope, it may help to talk to other people in the same situation as you. You may also be able to get additional support from your health visitor or occupational therapist to help you manage your young family.
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However, thanks to early treatment, inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis affecting other parts of the body is becoming less common.
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Devoted Guardians’ Response to COVID-19
Devoted Guardians is actively monitoring the progression of the coronavirus, COVID-19, to ensure that we have the most accurate and latest information on the threat of the virus. As you know, this situation continues to develop rapidly as new cases are identified in our communities and our protocols will be adjusted as needed.
While most cases of COVID-19 are mild, causing only fever and cough, a very small percentage of cases become severe and may progress particularly in the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions. Because this is the primary population that Devoted Guardians serves, we understand your concerns and want to share with you how our organization is responding to the threat of COVID-19.
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What Do I Do If I Think I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
If youre experiencing joint pain and inflammation, its important that you discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Getting a diagnosis as soon as possible means that treatment can start quickly. Early treatment will help you to control the inflammation, manage pain more effectively and minimise the risk of long-term joint damage and disability.
If youre diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or suspected of having the condition, you may be referred to a medical specialist known as a rheumatologist for further investigations and medical treatment.
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- Meet our clinical contributor: Halyna Kuzyshyn, M.D.,
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- J Nutr. 2014 Jul 144:1037-42. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.189480. Epub 2014 Apr 17. Dietary intake of advanced glycation end products did not affect endothelial function and inflammation in healthy adults in a randomized controlled trial. Semba RD1, Gebauer SK2, Baer DJ2, Sun K3, Turner R3, Silber HA3, Talegawkar S4, Ferrucci L5, Novotny JA2.
- Autoimmun Rev. 2018 Sep 10. pii: S1568-997230210-6. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2018.05.009. Are we really what we eat? Nutrition and its role in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Philippou E1, Nikiphorou E2.
- Adv Nutr. 2017 Jan 17 8:54-62. doi: 10.3945/an.116.013912. Print 2017 Jan. Formation of Fructose-Mediated Advanced Glycation End Products and Their Roles in Metabolic and Inflammatory Diseases. Gugliucci A1.
- Neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment causes obesity, diabetes, and macrovesicular steatohepatitis with liver nodules in DIAR mice. Tsuneyama K1, Nishida T, Baba H, Taira S, Fujimoto M, Nomoto K, Hayashi S, Miwa S, Nakajima T, Sutoh M, Oda E, Hokao R, Imura J.
- Rheumatology . 2013 May 52:856-67. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes376. Epub 2013 Jan 3. The protective effect of alcohol on developing rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scott IC1, Tan R, Stahl D, Steer S, Lewis CM, Cope AP.
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Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Because RA damages joints over time, it causes some disability. It can cause pain and movement problems. You may be less able to do your normal daily activities and tasks. This can also lead to problems such as depression and anxiety.
RA can also affect many nonjoint parts of the body, such as the lungs, heart, skin, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and kidneys. These complications can lead to severe illness and even death.
Can I Do Anything To Prevent Ra
Thereâs no way to prevent RA, but you can lower your chances if you:
Quit smoking. Itâs the one sure thing besides your genes that boosts your odds of getting RA. Some studies show it also can make the disease get worse faster and lead to more joint damage, especially if youâre ages 55 or younger. If youâre overweight and a smoker, your chances of developing RA go up.
Take care of your gums: New research shows a link between RA and periodontal disease. Brush, floss, and see your dentist for regular checkups.
Even though thereâs nothing you can do to ensure you wonât get it, keep in mind that early treatment can make your symptoms less painful and save your joints from damage. Ideally, you should begin treatment within 3 to 6 months of your first symptoms.
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Maximizing Imaging Procedure Use
The amount of data obtained in a single MR or CT scan is very extensive. Some of the data that radiologists discard could save patients time and money, while reducing their exposure to radiation and risk of complications from invasive procedures. Another approach for making the procedures more efficient is based on utilizing additional constraints, e.g., in some medical imaging modalities one can improve the efficiency of the data acquisition by taking into account the fact the reconstructed density is positive.
The Exact Cause Of Ra Is Not Known Although There Are Factors That Can Contribute To The Development And Severity Of This Inflammatory Arthritic Disease
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet known, although scientists have identified factors that contribute to the disease. They believe a combination of factors is involved in triggering the onset RA. Some of these factors include the following:
- Immune system dysfunction
Heredity may play a role in development of rheumatoid arthritis in some people. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
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Key Points About Rheumatoid Arthritis
- RA is a long-term that causes joint inflammation.
- RA can also affect many nonjoint areas such as the lungs, heart, skin, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and kidneys.
- RA may cause deformities in the joints of the finger, making movement difficult.
- The joints most often affected by RA are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows.
- Symptoms may include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling decreased and painful movement bumps over small joints and fatigue or fever.
Ra Vs Oa: Clinical Manifestations
RA symptoms have a rather rapid onset where the condition can worsen in a matter of weeks. On the other hand, OA symptoms slowly develop and gradually worsen over a long period of time.
RA symptoms affect joints all the over the body including hands, fingers, elbows, knees, and hips. Meanwhile, OA frequently affects the small finger joints and thumb, as well as the knees. RA always affects multiple joints on both sides of the body, whereas OA may only affect one particular joint or area of the body.
At the onset of RA, symptoms like fatigue, fever, weight loss, and loss of appetite are indicative of the diseases development. OA doesnt produce these types of systemic symptoms as it is considered a local disease.
RA commonly produces symmetrical symptoms, meaning both sides of the body are affected similarly. OA is based entirely on wear and tear of individual joints.
RA causes prolonged morning stiffness lasting greater than 30 minutes. OA patients may feel morning stiffness, but it generally subsides within the first 30 minutes.
Here is a summary comparison between RA and OA symptoms:
- Joint pain, stiffness, swelling affecting multiple joints
- Symmetrical symptoms affecting both sides of the body
- Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes
- Systemic symptoms like fatigue, fever, and malaise
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How Is Ra Treated
RA can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies. Treatment for RA usually includes the use of medications that slow disease and prevent joint deformity, called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs biological response modifiers are medications that are an effective second-line treatment. In addition to medications, people can manage their RA with self-management strategies proven to reduce pain and disability, allowing them to pursue the activities important to them. People with RA can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning to use five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.
Smoking And Obesity Add To The Burden Of Inflammation
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by your immune system attacking parts of your own body as if they were dangerous germs. Among other tissues, the immune system targets membranes surrounding your joints, which are called the synovium. That leads to inflammation that can damage and even destroy the joints’ bone and cartilage.
As in other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and psoriasis, the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not well understood. What doctors do know is that certain factorsincluding smoking and obesitycan place you at higher risk of not only getting the disease, but having more severe symptoms.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes Symptoms Treatments And More
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that can causes joint pain, swelling and damage. Learn what causes RA and how to treat it.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation and pain. It happens when the immune system doesnt work properly and attacks the lining of the joints . The disease commonly affects the hands, knees or ankles, and usually the same joint on both sides of the body. But sometimes, RA causes problems in other parts of the body as well, such as the eyes, heart and circulatory system and/or lungs. For unknown reasons, more women than men get RA, and it usually develops in middle age. Having a family member with RA increases the odds of developing RA.
In a healthy person, the immune system fights invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. With an autoimmune disease like RA, the immune system mistakes the bodys cells for foreign invaders and releases inflammatory chemicals that attack, in the case of RA, the synovium. Thats the tissue lining around a joint that produces a fluid to help the joint move smoothly. The inflamed synovium gets thicker and makes the joint area feel painful and tender, look red and swollen and moving the joint may be difficult.
Researchers arent sure why some people develop RA. They think that these individuals have certain genes that are activated by a trigger in the environment, like a virus or bacteria, or physical or emotional stress or some other external factor.
What Are The Types Of Arthritis
There are several types of arthritis. Common ones include:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis is arthritis that affects the spine. It often involves redness, heat, swelling, and pain in the spine or in the joint where the bottom of the spine joins the pelvic bone.
- Gout is caused by crystals that build up in the joints. It usually affects the big toe, but many other joints may be affected.
- Juvenile Arthritis is the term used to describe arthritis in children. Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints.
- Osteoarthritis usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows a joint injury. For example, you might have badly injured your knee when young and develop arthritis in your knee joint years later.
- Psoriatic Arthritis can occur in people who have psoriasis . It affects the skin, joints, and areas where tissues attach to bone.
- Reactive Arthritis is pain or swelling in a joint that is caused by an infection in your body. You may also have red, swollen eyes and a swollen urinary tract.
- Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the bodys own defense system doesnt work properly. It affects joints and bones , and may also affect internal organs and systems. You may feel sick or tired, and you may have a fever.
Arthritis is seen with other conditions. These include:
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Rheumatoid Arthritis And Coronavirus
Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis often suppress your immune system, which can increase your risk of getting coronavirus. Treatments that suppress your immune system include:
- Biologics this includes abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, belimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, ixekizumab, rituximab , sarilumab, secukinumab, tocilizumab and ustekinumab
- DMARDs this includes azathioprine, ciclosporin, leflunomide, methotrexate, mycophenolate mofetil, mycophenolic acid, sirolimus and tacrolimus
- JAK inhibitors this includes baricitinib, tofacitinib and upadacitinib
However, it is important that you do not stop taking your medication for rheumatoid arthritis during the coronavirus pandemic. If you do, your risk of complications and flare-ups will significantly increase.
If your doctor has identified you as “clinically extremely vulnerable”, strictly follow all coronavirus guidelines, including:
- Not seeing anyone outside your social bubble
- Staying at home whenever possible and avoiding crowded spaces
- Staying two metres away from people
- Washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitiser
- Wearing face coverings when you are outside
- Working from home
You should be extra careful if you:
Exercise And Physical Therapy
Results of randomized controlled trials support physical exercise to improve quality of life and muscle strength in patients with RA.32,33 Exercise training programs have not been shown to have deleterious effects on RA disease activity, pain scores, or radiographic joint damage.34 Tai chi has been shown to improve ankle range of motion in persons with RA, although randomized trials are limited.35 Randomized controlled trials of Iyengar yoga in young adults with RA are underway.36
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Bacterial Or Viral Infection
Some researchers believe that certain infections can trigger the onset of RA. If other factors are presentsuch as the HLA-DR4 genea person could develop RA. In other words, an infection could turn on the markers effect on the immune system.
Scientists have studied many bacteria and viruses, but so far, they havent identified any of those as a cause or trigger of RA. Some RA patients have high levels of antibodies against E coli in their synovial fluid. Other organisms that have a possible connection with RA include Epstein-Barr virus, Mycoplasma species, and others.
Lifestyle And Trigger Factors
Arthritis is also known to develop suddenly without a known cause, and at any age. In some instances, something in your medical history or lifestyle or just a combination of both of these could be responsible for your arthritis.
There are a number of factors that could be responsible for your arthritis if youre susceptible to it:
- Physically demanding jobs can increase your risk of osteoarthritis, more so if it involves heavy and repetitive activity.
- the Previous injury to a joint can also increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
- Infections, illness or an allergic reaction can cause short-lived arthritis.
- Some diets may appear to make your arthritis worse.
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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.
Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Hereditary
Rheumatoid arthritis isnt considered a hereditary disease, yet it does appear to run in families. This may be due to environmental causes, genetic causes, or a combination of both.
If you have family members who have or have had RA, talk to your healthcare provider, especially if you have any symptoms of persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness unrelated to overuse or trauma.
Having a family history of RA increases your risk of getting the disease, and early diagnosis can make a big difference in how effective treatment will be.
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Medications To Manage Symptoms
Some drugs can help to relieve symptoms and slow disease progression.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are available over the counter from pharmacies. Examples include Advil, Motrin, and Aleve. Long-term use and high doses can lead to side effects, such as bruising, gastric ulcers, high blood pressure, and kidney and liver problems.
Corticosteroids reduce pain and inflammation and may help slow joint damage, but they cannot cure RA. If NSAIDs do not work, a doctor may inject a steroid into the joint. Relief is usually rapid, but the effect is variable. It can last a few weeks or months, depending on the severity of symptoms.
Corticosteroids can help with acute symptoms or short-term flareups. Long-term use of corticosteroids can have serious side effects, such as cataracts, osteoporosis, glaucoma, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. For this reason, a doctor will limit the number of times a person can receive these injections.