TIME TO TREAT IT

So what do we do to fix this?

Unfortunately RA is incurable, BUT there are various treatments that keep it at bay, reduce pain and inflammation, and allow movement of joints. Treatments vary on what state of RA you are at and the severity of your symptoms. 

-Steroids

Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, reduce inflammation and pain and slow joint damage. Doctors prescribe Steroids as an initial treatment to relieve symptoms before prescribing medication.

Side effects: Thinning of bones, weight gain and diabetes 

-NSAIDs. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that relieve pain and reduce inflammation. 

 Over the counter NSAID's - Ibuprofen & Naproxen and others are available with a prescription.

Side effects: Stomach irritation, kidney damage, heart problems 

-Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

These drugs are used to slow the progression of the disease and prevent tissue and joints from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall, Otrexup, others), leflunomide (Arava), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).

Side effects: Vary drug to drug but include liver damage, lung problems 

-Biologic agents

These drugs are used to target parts of the immune system that trigger inflammation. Biologic DMARDs are usually most effective when paired with a non biological DMARD, such as methotrexate.

Side effects:These types of drugs increase the risk of infections, also higher doses of tofacitinib increase the risk of blood clots in the lungs. 

Physical Therapy to gain information on exercises to keep your joints moving. 

Surgery may be necessary when a joint needs repairing and medication ceases to improve it. Surgery can be Synovectomy, Tendon repair, joint fusion, or total joint replacement.

 

Is remission possible with RA?

When you feel as though your symptoms are under control and getting better, then you may have reached remission, and it will allow you to feel as though your RA has gone away for a while. Remission feels different from person to person, but it means your disease has stopped progressing limiting the amount of lasting damage to your joins. 

Remission is defined in several ways:

  • Little or no joint pain, tenderness,swelling

  • Blood results show low levels of inflammation 

  • Less than 15minutes of stiffness in the morning

 

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