What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

arthritis1Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints. This causes inflammation (arthritis) and joint
damage. It can also damage some organs, such as the lungs and skin. It can be a disabling and painful condition. It can lead to considerable loss of function and mobility.

RA is diagnosed with blood tests (especially a test called rheumatoid factor) and X-rays.  Diagnosis and long term management are typically performed by a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is an expert in the diseases of joints and connective tissues.

There are several treatments available. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy
along with analgesia (painkillers), anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to treat the symptoms. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can reverse the disease process and prevent long term damage. A newer group of drugs called biologics increases treatment options.

The name rheumatoid arthritis is based on the term "rheumatic fever". Rheumatic fever is an illness that includes joint pain. It is comes from the Greek word rheumatos ("flowing"). The suffix -oid ("resembling") translates to joint inflammation that resembles rheumatic fever. The first known report of rheumatoid arthritis was made in 1800 by Dr Augustin Jacob Landré-Beauvais (1772-1840) of Paris.

Current Rheumatoid Arthritis Trials

  1. SEAM
  2. StopRA
  4. VERVE
  5. RAM
  6. AWARE