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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

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Introduction

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. It is triggered by a faulty immune system (the body’s defense system) and affects the wrist and small joints of the hand, including the knuckles and the middle joints of the fingers.

People have long feared rheumatoid arthritis as one of the most disabling types of arthritis. The good news is that the outlook has greatly improved for many people with newly diagnosed (detected) RA. It still however remains a serious disease, and one that can vary widely in symptoms and outcomes. Even so, treatment advances have made it possible to stop or at least slow the progression of joint damage. Rheumatologists now have many new treatments that target the inflammation that RA causes. They also understand better when and how to use treatments to get the best effects.

Treatment

Treatments have improved greatly and help many of those affected. For most people with RA, early treatment can control joint pain, swelling, and lessen joint damage.

Studies show that people who receive early treatment for RA feel better sooner and more often, and are more likely to lead an active life. They also are less likely to have the type of joint damage that leads to joint replacement.

Low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking, and exercises can boost muscle strength & will improve your overall health and reduce pressure on your joints.

Expert advice is vital to make an early diagnosis of RA and to rule out diseases that mimic RA, thus avoiding unneeded tests and treatments. Rheumatologists are experts in RA and can design a customized treatment plan that is best suited for you.

 

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