Medical research

Tropical ginger treatment for blocking inflammation

Many natural compounds have various anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties that humans have been utilizing for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. However, the specific molecular mechanisms behind these health-promoting ...

Genetics

Eleven novel loci identified for rheumatoid arthritis

Eleven novel loci and 90 independent association signals have been identified for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published in the May issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Physical activity reduces cardiovascular risk in rheumatic patients

The risk of developing atherosclerosis—a narrowing of the arteries as cholesterol plaque builds up, leading to obstruction of blood flow—is higher for people with autoimmune rheumatic diseases than for the general population. ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Early-life exposure to famine linked to increased odds of RA

(HealthDay)—Individuals exposed to famine in utero or in early childhood have an increased likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adulthood, according to a study published in the April issue of Arthritis ...

Medications

Novartis, Roche team up on COVID pneumonia drug

Novartis announced Thursday it will join forces with fellow Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche to produce tocilizumab, a drug being tested for its effectiveness against COVID-19-linked pneumonia.

Inflammatory disorders

Self-assembling nanofibers prevent damage from inflammation

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have developed a self-assembling nanomaterial that can help limit damage caused by inflammatory diseases by activating key cells in the immune system. In mouse models of psoriasis, ...

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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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