Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

What’s rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition that causes discomfort and damage to joints all over the body.

The damage caused by RA to the joints typically occurs on both sides of the body. So, if a joint in one of the arms or legs is affected, the same joint in the other arm or leg is likely to be affected as well. One way doctors differentiate RA from other types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, is through this (OA).

Treatments work best when RA is diagnosed early, so it’s important to learn the signs. Read on to find out everything you need to know about RA, from its causes to its symptoms.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

RA is a long-term condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. Flares or exacerbations are times when these symptoms and signs appear. Periods of remission, on the other hand, are when symptoms fully vanish.

Although RA symptoms can affect a variety of organs in the body, the following are some of the most common joint symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of joint function and deformities

Other symptoms can include:

  • tiredness and lack of energy – this can be known as fatigue
  • a poor appetite (not feeling hungry)
  • weight loss
  • a high temperature, or a fever
  • sweating
  • dry eyes – as a result of inflammation
  • chest pain – as a result of inflammation.


Since the early signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are similar to those of many other diseases, it can be difficult to detect in its early stages. The diagnosis cannot be confirmed by a single blood test or physical finding.

Your doctor will examine the joints for swelling, redness, and warmth during the physical exam. He or she can also assess the muscle strength and reflexes.

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Rheumatoid arthritis has no known cure. However, clinical trials show that early treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) increases the likelihood of symptom remission (DMARDs).

Prescription drugs

Your doctor’s medication recommendations will be based on the severity of your symptoms and the length of time you’ve had rheumatoid arthritis.

  • NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can help to alleviate pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen sodium are two over-the-counter NSAIDs (Aleve). Prescriptions are available for stronger NSAIDs.


  • Steroids are a form of anabolic steroid that Prednisone and other corticosteroid drugs minimize inflammation and discomfort while also slowing joint damage. Bone thinning, weight gain, and diabetes are also possible side effects. To alleviate acute symptoms, doctors often prescribe a corticosteroid, with the intention of eventually weaning patients off the drug.



  • Ant rheumatic medications that treat rheumatoid arthritis (DMARDs). These medications can help to delay the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and prevent permanent damage to the joints and other tissues. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall, Otrexup, others), leflunomide (Arava), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).


Liver injury, bone marrow suppression, and extreme anemia are some of the possible side effects.


  • Agents that are biological. This newer class of DMARDs also includes abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), anakinra (Kineret), baricitinib (Olumiant), certolizumab (Cimzia), etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi), infliximab (Remicade), rituximab (Rituxan).

These drugs can target immune system components that cause inflammation, which leads to joint and tissue damage. In addition, these medications raise the risk of infection. In people with rheumatoid arthritis, higher doses of tofacitinib can increase the risk of blood clots in the lungs. When combined with a nonbiologic DMARD, such as methotrexate, biologic DMARDs are typically the most successful.


Your doctor can refer you to a physical or occupational therapist who can teach you exercises to maintain joint flexibility. The therapist can also recommend new ways to complete everyday activities that are less taxing on your joints.  For example, you would want to pick up an object with your forearms.

Assistive devices will help you avoid putting undue pressure on your sore joints. A kitchen knife with a hand grip, for example, will help protect your finger and wrist joints. Buttonhooks, for example, will make getting ready a lot simpler. Catalogs and medical supply stores are excellent sources of inspiration.


Surgical procedures

If medications do not prevent or delay joint damage, you and your doctor can decide to have surgery to fix the damaged joints. Surgery can be able to help you regain the ability to move your joint. It can also help with pain and work.


One or more of the following procedures can be used in rheumatoid arthritis surgery:


  • Synovectomy is the surgical removal of the synovium. Knees, elbows, knees, toes, and hips will also have surgery to remove the inflamed lining of the joint (synovium).


  • Tendon resurfacing. Tendons around your joint can loosen or rupture as a result of inflammation and joint damage. The tendons around your joint can be repaired by your surgeon.


  • Fusion of the joints. If a joint replacement isn’t an option, surgically fusing a joint may be advised to stabilize or realign a joint and provide pain relief.


  • Replacement of the whole joint. Your surgeon will remove the damaged parts of your joint and replace them with a metal and plastic prosthesis during joint replacement surgery.

Bleeding, infection, and discomfort are all dangers associated with surgery. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Mayo Clinic

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis