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 ...

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.

Cardiology

Chest CT can ID respiratory AE risk in RA patients on biologics

(HealthDay)—Chest computed tomography (CT) findings may identify risk factors for respiratory adverse events (RAEs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients undergoing long-term biological therapy, according to a study recently ...

Neuroscience

Gene variant found in brain complicit in MS onset

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease affecting the function of the central nervous system. Up to now, most of the 230 genetic variants associated with the disease have been linked to changes in immune cells. However, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers make important breakthrough in pulmonary fibrosis

A team of investigators led by members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty at CU Anschutz Medical Campus has identified a connection between mucus in the small airways and pulmonary fibrosis.

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 ...

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 ...

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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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