Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Controlling Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease of the immune system that inflames the joints of the body. If you have been diagnosed with RA recently, it’s important to gain the upper hand over the disease as soon as you can. If left untreated, RA can affect your ability to work, impact your quality of life, and increase your risk for heart disease

RA is a chronic disease, meaning it can’t be cured. It is the most common autoimmune disease affecting the joints— anyone can get it, but it’s more prominent in middle-age patients. In the U.S. the risk of developing RA is 3.6 percent in women and 1.7 percent in men.

Although there is no cure for RA, its impact can be significantly reduced through early diagnosis and effective treatments. Many drug therapies are now available to treat the disease, so the challenge is finding the one that’s right for you. To begin a drug therapy treatment, you should first talk to a rheumatologist who can design a treatment plan based on his physical evaluation and your body’s response to medication.

Surgery is another way to relieve RA symptoms. Surgery for RA is mainly performed to improve function of severely deformed joints that don’t respond to drug or physical therapy. Surgeries for people who have severe RA include arthroscopy, synovectomy, arthroplasty, cervical spine fusion, and resection of metatarsal heads.


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