Finding effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis is of the utmost importance. The disease can cause significant, lasting damage, and while flare-ups of inflammation can be painful, damage to bones, cartilage and the surrounding tissue may not correspond to the initially felt effects.
Treating rheumatoid arthritis as early and as effectively as possible is important to retain your health and mobility. Since genetic predisposition and common environmental factors such as exposure to bacteria and viruses, and other irritants such as pollutants, seem to trigger the disease, it’s not very effective to try to avoid getting rheumatoid arthritis in the first place.
It is unlike the other most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, in that it does not correlate to wear and tear on joints and is not caused by overuse or misuse of joints. You can try to life in as healthy a manner as possible, with good nutrition, cleaning, and fitness habits to avoid activating strong immune responses, but many factors including gender, age, and genetic variations are out of your control.
If you are experiencing joint pain, it’s important to see a qualified medical practitioner, get a diagnosis, and start an effective course of treatment as soon as possible. A primary care physician such as your family doctor will likely refer you to a specialist called a “rheumatologist” for specialist treatment.
In rheumatoid arthritis, your white blood cells or “t cells” cause unnecessary or excess inflammation in a tissue that connects the bones and the overlying cartilage of your joints. The increased pressure in such a limited space causes pain and, over time, deteriorates the bones, cartilage, and surrounding tissue. Deformity and disability of the joints can result, and inflammation can spread to other organs or body systems.
Early, effective treatment should reduce inflammation to mitigate the damage. It’s important to get treatment even if you do not find the pain of inflammation debilitating, as lasting damage and deterioration can be occurring without you being aware.
Effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include medication and, in some cases, surgery or physical treatments such as occupational therapy or physiotherapy to strengthen and support your functional movement in the presence of deterioration and damage. Surgery may be considered in the case of joints that are too painful or damaged, and may include therapeutic adjustments and joint replacements.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are one of the common first courses of treatments because they provide relief and preserve the joints well. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids are also effective treatments to combat inflammation. These sort of treatments come in various forms, such as internal, topical, or injection-based. More serious, but effective, types of treatment are biologic response modfiers. These act more directly on the immune system to shut down its communication pathways.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers should work with their specialist to find the best course of medication and rigorously follow prescribed regimens to avoid the type of damage that might require surgery or therapy if left unchecked. Effective treatments may control the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis to the point that patients do not experience pain or mobility challenges and the disease is considered to be “in remission.”