Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Hemochromatosis mutation linked to other morbidity

(HealthDay)—HFE p.C282Y homozygosity, the most common gene mutation causing hereditary hemochromatosis (type 1), is associated with other morbidity in men and women, according to a study published online Jan. 16 in The ...

Immunology

Researchers discover new immune response regulators

The research groups of Academy Professor Riitta Lahesmaa and Research Director Laura Elo from Turku Centre for Biotechnology have discovered new proteins that regulate T cells in the human immune system. Some of these proteins ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Experts treat severe, disfiguring sarcoidosis with novel therapy

An all-Yale team of researchers successfully treated a patient with disfiguring sarcoidosis, a chronic disease that can affect multiple organs, with a drug approved for rheumatoid arthritis. Successful treatment of two other ...

Immunology

CRISPR study reveals new immune system regulators

Scientists have created the first retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing library to explore the regulation of mouse T cells, which are key cells in the immune system. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their ...

Neuroscience

Drug may delay MS disability for some

An immune system drug may help prevent or slow complications in a type of multiple sclerosis known as secondary progressive MS, a new study finds.

Genetics

Hundreds of new blood pressure gene variations discovered

In one of the largest studies of its kind, an international research team led by 20 Vanderbilt University scientists has discovered more than 200 new genetic variations associated with high blood pressure.

Medical research

How exercise reduces belly fat in humans

Some of you may have made a New Year's resolution to hit the gym to tackle that annoying belly fat. But have you ever wondered how physical activity produces this desired effect? A signaling molecule called interleukin-6 ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Phone-based intervention aids rheumatoid arthritis care

(HealthDay)—A nurse-based phone education intervention can promote shared decision making in patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Musculoskeletal Care.

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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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