A chronic, autoimmune disorder in which nodules and INFLAMMATION develop within the synovial capsules of the joints, causing erosion of the BONE and connective tissues, eventually deforming the JOINT. Synovial membranes encapsulate the joints and secrete synovial fluid, which lubricates the structures of the joint so they move smoothly and freely against each other. The antibodies that characterize rheumatoid arthritis attack the cells of the synovial membrane, causing inflammation and an IMMUNE RESPONSE that treats the cells as though they were invaders. The repeated inflammation over time results in fibrosis (scarring) that destroys the ability of the cells to produce synovial fluid and constricts the movement of the joint.
About two million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis, two thirds of them women. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 50, though can occur in children (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). Although treatments and lifestyle strategies can reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms, at present there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis is any condition of INFLAMMATION that affects the joints. OSTEOARTHRITIS is the form most people identify; about 20 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Though both forms involve inflammation of the joints, the two conditions are quite different. In osteoarthritis inflammation occurs in response to damage, usually that of repeated wear and tear, within the joints. In rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation occurs first as a malfunction of the IMMUNE RESPONSE and causes damage to the joints. Osteoarthritis is more common in people over age 65, whereas rheumatoid arthritis usually arises before age 50.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis typically include
The diagnostic path includes BLOOD tests to detect antibodies and other indications of inflammation. Many people who have rheumatoid arthritis have a specific ANTIBODY called rheumatoid factor, though not all people who have rheumatoid arthritis have this antibody, and conversely, rheumatoid factor may be present in people who do not have rheumatoid arthritis. Blood levels of C-REACTIVE PROTEIN also can indicate whether inflammation exists in the body. X-rays can help the doctor evaluate and monitor damage to the joints and bones.
Treatment typically blends lifestyle measures to protect affected joints from undue stress and medications to relieve inflammation and pain. Daily exercise and activity that puts each affected joint through its complete range of motion help keep SCAR tissue from contracting (tightening) within the synovial capsule, maintaining relative freedom of movement. Activities such as YOGA and TAI CHI also improve FLEXIBILITY, range of motion, and balance. Omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid may block steps in the inflammatory response that reduce its intensity. Stress management methods such as MEDITATION help people to cope with the challenges of a chronic health condition.
Mild rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, especially pain, often respond to NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS (NSAIDS). Acetaminophen may also relieve pain, though it does not reduce inflammation. Topical preparations such as capsaicin and complementary therapies such as ACUPUNCTURE and REIKI may provide relief from pain and other symptoms. Medications for moderate to severe symptoms may include CORTICOSTEROID MEDICATIONS, which suppress the inflammatory response, and DISEASE-MODIFYING ANTIRHEUMATIC DRUGS (DMARDS), which block the immune response in various ways, depending on the medication. Combinations of medications often provide the greatest relief. Surgery to replace seriously damaged joints with prosthetic joints becomes a treatment option when other therapeutic approaches cannot contain symptoms.
|MEDICATIONS TO TREAT RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS|
Researchers believe rheumatoid arthritis develops when various genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors converge. But specific risk factors remain elusive. There are no known measures to prevent rheumatoid arthritis from developing. Early diagnosis and treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are important to maintain optimal joint structure, integrity, and function. Prevention efforts focus on minimizing the consequences that the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis causes, to preserve joint function as well as QUALITY OF LIFE.
Resource: Facts On File Encyclopedia Of Health And Medicine
Antibody definition Antibody is a unique molecule that binds with a specific ANTIGEN so the IMMUNE SYSTEM can neutralize or destroy the antigen. Antigens are molecular markers on the surfaces of cells that identify the cells to the immune system. Antibodies are the immune system’s infantry, patrolling the BLOOD and LYMPH circulations and responding
Allergy definition Allergy - an abnormal sensitivity to an ordinarily harmless substance, called an ALLERGEN, that produces a HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION (allergic reaction) in response to the IMMUNE SYSTEM’s detection of the substance’s presence. A person can have an allergy to nearly any substance. Though researchers understand the mechanisms
Diagnostic procedures to determine the allergens responsible for HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION. The most specific ALLERGY test is the allergy SKIN test, also called a scratch test or a patch test. For this test, the allergist uses the inside of the arm or a section of the back to expose the body to suspected allergens. The allergist places a small drop of a
A HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION (allergic reaction) that affects the SKIN, usually in response to contact with an ALLERGEN. As with all hypersensitivity reactions, the first exposure to the allergen produces no symptoms. In reaction to the exposure, however, the IMMUNE SYSTEM produces antibodies for the allergen. Subsequent exposures to the allergen then do
What is Allergic Asthma and definition Allergic asthma is a HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION (allergic reaction) that involves the airways (bronchi). allergic ASTHMA is a type I or IMMUNOGLOBULIN E (IgE) reaction. Mast cells in the bronchial membranes release HISTAMINE, PROSTAGLANDINS, and LEUKOTRIENES. These substances cause itching and swelling of the bronchial
Allergic conjunctivitis - A type I (IMMUNOGLOBULIN E [IgE]) HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION, commonly called an allergic reaction, that affects the membranes that line the inner eyelids (conjunctiva). Sometimes the irritation also reddens the white part of the eye (sclera). Allergic CONJUNCTIVITIS features red and swollen conjunctiva with excessive tearing and
Define Active Immunity Long-term, acquired immune protection. Active immunity, also called acquired immunity, results from fighting an INFECTION or receiving a VACCINE that stimulates ANTIBODY response. In many circumstances active immunity is lifelong.
At birth the IMMUNE SYSTEM is fairly undeveloped. The infant relies largely on the carryover of maternal immune components for about the first six weeks of its life, while the infant’s body builds its own immune system. By age four months, maternal IMMUNITY wears off and the infant’s immune system is on its own (though an infant who is
What is Allergen and definition Allergen - a harmless substance, also called a hapten, that causes an exaggerated response from the IMMUNE SYSTEM called a HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION. For reasons researchers do not fully understand, the immune system produces antibodies for the substance that result in the IMMUNE RESPONSE perceiving the substance as a
What is Allergic Rhinitis and Definition A HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION to inhaled allergens. Allergic rhinitis, also called seasonal rhinitis or hay FEVER, affects the mucous membranes inside the NOSE (nasal mucosa). Allergic rhinitis affects about 40 million adults in the United States, making it one of the most common hypersensitivity reactions. The