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Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment


Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease affecting the joints. This autoimmune condition is accompanied by inflamed tissue surrounding the joints. Other body organs can also suffer damage and inflammation. This chronic inflammatory condition has no cure.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. Rheumatoid disease is a term used to describe the condition because it can affect various body organs as well.  Rheumatoid arthritis treatment focuses on reducing joint inflammation, minimizing disability and avoiding joint damage and offering natural arthritis relief.

Treatment provides support in coping with this condition in one’s life. Early treatment inhibits joint damage and reduces the disease’s impact.  Medication, surgery and lifestyle changes all go a long way in facilitating  rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Medication in Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Various medications are used in  rheumatoid arthritis treatment.  While some aim at slowing down disease progression, others just relieve minor arthritis pain. Pain killers are commonly taken to reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

These drugs do not reduce inflammation. Codeine and paracetamol are commonly prescribed as pain killers. Sometimes they are prescribed in combination form like co-codamol.

NSAIDs can be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. Ibuprofen and naproxen ( diclofenac) Are traditional Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. The other types of NSAIDs are COX-2 inhibitors like etoricoxib or celecoxib.

These drugs do not inhibit the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Nonetheless they reduce inflammation and stiffness and pain.  Peptic ulcers, angina, strokes, heart attacks or even asthma attacks are potential complications associated with drugs. Let your doctor know if you have any of these conditions or are under low dosage of aspirin.

Some drug side effects include internal bleeding or severe stomach complications. NSAIDs can damage the mucous lining that shields the stomach walls from acids. However, these digestive risks are uncommon. COX 2 agents increase the risks of heart attacks and strokes, though the risk of stomach complications are reduced.

Corticosteroids minimize stiffness, swelling and pain. Prednisone also slows down joint damage.  Weight gain, diabetes, thinning of bones and cataracts are some possible drug side effects. Corticosteroids relieve acute symptoms.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Doctors focus on systematically tapering off medication with these prescriptions. These drugs are employed on a short term basis.  Long term use of these drugs is associated with the side effects mentioned above.

Apart from tablets, injections of corticosteroids are also available.  These come in handy when NSAIDS are ineffective .  Other long term side effects are osteoporosis, thinning of bones and skin,  muscle weakness, easy bruising and worsening of glaucoma (eye disease).

DMARDs or Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs ease symptoms and inhibit arthritis progression.  Apart from attaching tissue in the joints, antibodies may also secrete chemicals that damage the cartilage, ligaments tendons and bones.  The effects of these chemicals are shielded off by DMARDs.  They offer effective as rheumatoid arthritis treatment when commenced early .

Methotrexate, sulfasalazine, gold lexlunomide and hydroxychloroquine are examples of DMARDs. Often methotrexate are the first rheumatoid arthritis treatment drugs administered.  They can also be taken in combination with other DMARDs.  Diarrhea, sickness, rashes, mouth ulcers, hair loss and hair thinning are some drug side effects.

Occasionally liver and blood count effects may also occur.  This should be monitored by regular blood tests. X-rays and breathing tests are required if less common side effects on the lungs like dry coughs and shortness of breath occur.

Four to six months of using this rheumatoid arthritis medication can elapse before its effects are realized.  Regular medication is recommended.  Two or three DMARDs may be taken before settling on the most suitable drug.  Once this has been established, the medicine has to be taken for long term  rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Biological Treatments in Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

 Biological treatments are still new in  rheumatoid arthritis treatment.  Usually they are combined with methotrexate or other DMARDs/ They neutralize particular chemicals in your blood that would otherwise activate the immune system. These defenses can attack the lining of your joints.

Biological  rheumatoid arthritis treatment  options include TNF alpha inhibitors, adalimumab  (etanercept and cetolizumad infliximab).  Tocilizumad and Rituximab can be combined with methotrexate for severe rheumatoid  arthritis alternative treatment. This is an option for persistent rheumatoid arthritis that does not respond to TNF inhibitors.

Side effects of this biological  rheumatoid arthritis treatment  are not usually serious. They may include infection, fever, nausea, headache and reactions of skin at the point of injection.  People with septicemia, TB tuberculosis and hepatitis b are at a risk of severe side effects.  Biological treatments for such individuals may trigger auto immune complications.  There is a minute risk of having these conditions reactivated.

Therapy and Surgery in Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

The services of a therapist may be recommended by your doctor.  Therapists can instruct you in exercises that improve your joint flexibility.  You  may also learn new suggestions on how to perform routine tasks.  These will facilitate your joint movements.

Forearms may be used to pick up objects instead of sore fingers. Assistive devices reduce stress on painful joints.  Special grabbing and gripping tools facilitate working in the kitchen with your painful fingers.  You can also use a cane to get around.

If medications for rheumatoid arthritis treatment fail to slow down or prevent joint damage, surgery may be considered to repair damaged joints.  Your joints may be able to regain function after restoration.  Deformities can be corrected and pain be reduced.  More than one of the following procedures may be involved in rheumatoid arthritis surgery:

  • Total joint replacement: During this replacement surgery the parts of your joint that are damaged are removed.  A prosthesis fashioned out of plastic and metal are inserted by your surgeon.
  • Tendon repair:  Joint damage and inflammation may lead to loosening and rapture of tendons around your joint.
  • Joint fusion:  To realign or make the joint steady, surgery can involve the joint getting fused.  This alleviates arthritis pain especially where joint replacement is not possible. Surgery as  rheumatoid arthritis treatment  involves the risk of infection, bleeding and pain.
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