Immunology

B cells gone bad could be the culprit in rheumatoid arthritis

Biomolecular researcher Navin Varadarajan has published in Arthritis & Rheumatology journal a first-of-its-kind study—a comprehensive profile of B cells in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). B cells are lymphocytes, or white blood ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Gum bacteria implicated in Alzheimer's and other diseases

Researchers are reporting new findings on how bacteria involved in gum disease can travel throughout the body, exuding toxins connected with Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and aspiration pneumonia. They detected ...

Cardiology

Evaluating spousal caregivers cardiovascular risks

Spousal caregivers can face increased health risks, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, possibly due to the stress of caring for an ailing spouse, according to new research.

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Disease burden in osteoarthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) has traditionally been viewed as a highly prevalent but milder condition when compared with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and some may believe that it is part of a normal aging process requiring acceptance, ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

MRI-guided Tx strategy not superior for rheumatoid arthritis

(HealthDay)—A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided treat-to-target strategy is not associated with improved disease activity remission rates for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in clinical remission, according ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Smoking cessation may reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Smoking is an important risk factor for developing the most common form of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory diseases, but a critical question remains: Can those who quit smoking delay or prevent RA or have ...

Neuroscience

Yoga regimen reduces severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

According a study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, eight weeks of intensive yoga practice significantly decreases the severity of physical and psychological symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid ...

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks flexible (synovial) joints. The process produces an inflammatory response of the capsule around the joints (synovium) secondary to swelling (hyperplasia) of synovial cells, excess synovial fluid, and the development of fibrous tissue (pannus) in the synovium. The pathology of the disease process often leads to the destruction of articular cartilage and ankylosis of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, membrane around the heart (pericardium), the membranes of the lung (pleura), and white of the eye (sclera), and also nodular lesions, most common in subcutaneous tissue. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, autoimmunity plays a pivotal role in both its chronicity and progression, and RA is considered a systemic autoimmune disease.

About 1% of the world's population is afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis, women three times more often than men. Onset is most frequent between the ages of 40 and 50, but people of any age can be affected. It can be a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning and mobility if not adequately treated. It is a clinical diagnosis made on the basis of symptoms, physical exam, radiographs (X-rays) and labs, although the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) publish diagnostic guidelines. Diagnosis and long-term management are typically performed by a rheumatologist, an expert in joint, muscle and bone diseases.

Various treatments are available. Non-pharmacological treatment includes physical therapy, orthoses, occupational therapy and nutritional therapy but these do not stop the progression of joint destruction. Analgesia (painkillers) and anti-inflammatory drugs, including steroids, are used to suppress the symptoms, while disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are required to inhibit or halt the underlying immune process and prevent long-term damage. In recent times, the newer group of biologics has increased treatment options.

The name is based on the term "rheumatic fever", an illness which includes joint pain and is derived from the Greek word ῥεύμα-rheuma (nom.), ῥεύματος-rheumatos (gen.) ("flow, current"). The suffix -oid ("resembling") gives the translation as joint inflammation that resembles rheumatic fever. The first recognized description of rheumatoid arthritis was made in 1800 by Dr. Augustin Jacob Landré-Beauvais (1772–1840) of Paris.

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