Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium (the membrane lining the joints). The disease affects 1.5 million Americans and is more common in women than men. While there is no cure for RA, advances in diagnosis and treatment have made it possible to control symptoms and reduce joint damage by slowing down or even stopping disease progression. Say’s Dr Lane Sebring, this article discusses some of these developments.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints, resulting in pain and stiffness. It can affect the hands, feet, wrists and ankles but usually only one joint at a time. RA may also cause:
- Skin rashes
If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it’s important to understand how this chronic condition affects your body and what treatments are available for managing it.
New developments in diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
New developments in diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
There are many new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One such development is a blood test called anti-CCP that can help doctors predict if a patient has RA.
Another recent discovery is a treatment option called belimumab, which was shown to reduce inflammation and pain associated with RA in clinical trials. This drug works by targeting B cells, which are immune cells involved in the body’s inflammatory response. It works well for some people but not others; those who respond well may have higher levels of certain antibodies before they start taking belimumab than those who don’t respond so well–this suggests that it might be helpful for doctors to measure these particular antibodies when deciding whether or not an individual should receive this medication as part of his/her treatment plan.
The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is based on a combination of symptoms and blood tests. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose because it mimics other diseases with similar symptoms, such as psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint pain, stiffness and swelling; fatigue; warmth over the affected joints; redness around the eyes (keratoconjunctivitis sicca); hair loss from the scalp; feverish feeling in your chest or throat when you breathe deeply (effusion). Blood tests that may help confirm or rule out a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- ESR – this measures inflammation in your body by measuring how fast red blood cells settle down after spinning them in a tube filled with serum (i.e., liquid part of blood) at various speeds
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that can be managed, but not cured. Treatment options are improving, and many patients are able to lead productive lives while managing their symptoms.
Biologic therapies work differently than traditional medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis because they target specific immune system responses that contribute to inflammation in joints and other tissues throughout the body. These drugs act on cells in the body called T cells (a type of white blood cell) that play an important role in initiating autoimmune reactions like those seen in rheumatoid arthritis. By blocking certain proteins on T cells, biologics prevent them from causing further damage by stopping their inflammatory response or preventing it altogether–even though there may still be some active inflammation left behind after treatment has ended!
New developments in the diagnosis and treatment of RA will lead to improved treatments for patients with the disease.
The following are new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis:
- New blood tests. These include tests to detect antibodies that attack joints, which may be present even before symptoms appear. This can help doctors determine whether someone has RA or another type of arthritis.
- New drugs. Two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for RA are efalizumab (Raptiva) and abatacept (Orencia). Both work by interfering with T-cells, which play a role in inflammation; however, they have different side effects and work better for some people than others depending on their age and sex as well as other factors such as weight or smoking habits. Newer biologic therapies target specific parts of T-cell receptors instead of attacking all types at once like traditional nonbiologic treatments do–making them more effective but also more expensive than older medications like methotrexate or steroids
In conclusion, rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease that can be difficult to diagnose. However, the use of biomarkers and imaging techniques is improving our ability to detect RA as early as possible in patients’ lives. This will hopefully lead to better treatments for those with rheumatoid arthritis who are looking for ways to manage their symptoms or even cure their condition altogether.