Rheumatoid Arthritis

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes swelling, stiffness, pain, and loss of function in the joints. It typically affects the small joints of the hands and wrists in a symmetrical fashion. Did You Know? 1.5 million adults in the United States have / rheumatoid arthritis. Did You Know? 9 out of 1,000 women will get arthritis compared to 4 out of 1,000 VS. men. Did You Know? Approximately 70% 70% women of people with RA 30% are women. men Causes and Risk Factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis The exact cause of RA is unknown. Scientists believe it results from a combination of environmental and genetic factors, which triggers an abnormal autoimmune response that causes the body to attack its own tissues. Those most at risk for developing RA are women, people with a family history of the disease, and smokers. Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis The symptoms and progression of RA vary from person to person and can change daily or over time. The most common symptoms of the disease at its onset are: • Joint pain or stiffness that is symmetrical (meaning it affects the same joint on both sides of the body) • Joint pain that is prominent in the morning and lasts for at least half an hour Deformed, red, warm, or swollen joints • Mild fever Fatigue • Loss of appetite Complications in other parts of the body including the heart and lungs can occur with disease progression Conditions Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis People with RA are more at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, anemia, infections, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel, and ruptured tendons. Rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes have also been shown to overlap but there is no direct link between the two diseases. Many of these processes can be halted or reversed with aggressive early intervention. Juvenile Idiopathic Rheumatoid Arthritis Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints of children ages 16 and younger. Like rheumatoid arthritis, girls are more prone to JIA than boys. The condition causes joints to become inflamed and makes moving the joint difficult or painful. The eyes, skin, and gastrointestinal tract may also be affected. Treatment options are the same for JIA as RA. Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis There is no cure for RA. Current treatment options aim to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, slow down joint damage, and improve joint function. Options include the following: • Medication for pain or to slow disease progression Weight control and a healthy diet (including foods that reduce inflammation) • Balance between rest and exercise to relieve pain and inflammation Physical therapy or mild strength training to maintain muscle strength and flexibility • Stress reduction • Aerobic activities (walking or swimming) • In severe cases, joint replacement/tendon reconstruction surgery Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Research on rheumatoid arthritis focuses on finding reliable genetic and environmental factors to help predict who gets RA in order to develop tools that will allow doctors to better treat patients. The goals of current research include identifying effective medications, validating ways to predict disease outcome, and developing treatments that slow the disease progression and inhibit long-term effects. Mount Sinai © 2013 The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this content, but you must attribute the work to Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York. Visit for more information.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

shared by MountSinaiNYC on Aug 28
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects an estimated 1.5 million adults in the United States, causing stiffness, swelling, pain, and loss of function in the joints. Learn about symptoms, current treatments,...


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