Arthritis & Rheumatism

Postoperative infection rate similar across biologics in RA

(HealthDay)—For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) undergoing arthroplasty, the risk for postoperative infection is similar across biologics but is increased with glucocorticoid use, according to a study published ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Rheumatoid arthritis drug diminishes Zika birth defects in mice

In experiments with pregnant mice infected with the Zika virus, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report they have successfully used a long-standing immunosuppressive drug to diminish the rate of fetal deaths and birth defects ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

A deep-dive into the impact of arthritis drugs on gene expression

A new computational framework has revealed key differences between four rheumatoid arthritis medications and their impact on biological pathways in mice. Niki Karagianni of Biomedcode Hellas SA, Greece, and colleagues present ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Bone abnormalities in systemic autoimmune disease

An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine details abnormalities in bone pathology that occur in systemic autoimmune disease. The study, led by Dr. Yasuhiro Kon, Professor in the Department of Basic Veterinary ...

Immunology

How stressed-out bacteria may trigger autoimmune response

Stressful life events most likely contribute to autoimmune diseases, but scientists don't have a deep understanding of the underlying chain of events. A study on mice published this week in mSystems suggests that the gut ...

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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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