Rheumatoid arthritis or else known as RA is a health condition that, by estimations, affects around 0.24%–1% of the world population, and is widely diagnosed in women. It is an autoimmune disease causing inflammation mainly in the hands, wrists, and knees joints. When inflammation leads to tissue damage, a person experiences long-lasting pain or occasional disformity. Even though it is quite a widespread disease, and there is no known cure to get rid of it completely, early treatment may yield the fruits, and slow the progression. Today, doctors may assign a patient either to medications intake, therapies, or in severe cases with unbearable pain, surgery.
Read more to learn how to manage RA below, and live a full and healthy life.
Alongside modalities, a doctor may occasionally recommend you to involve some kind of physical therapy. It may be a course of exercises to alleviate pain in joints, or just keep them flexible so that they do not violate your ordinary lifestyle much. Besides, a therapist can recommend new ways of dealing with daily tasks which you cannot find easily anymore.
Then, therapy can be powered by assistive devices that will reduce the pressure on your joints and body. Even a simple kitchen knife with a handgrip can help protect fingers and wrist joints.
If your case is even worse, the way it affects your mental health condition, a doctor will prescribe you some kind of counselling. You may visit the psychotherapist who will explain to you how to deal with your RA without causing damage to your nervous system. For instance, how to minimize stress, avoid anxiety, and just adjust to new regimens.
Of course, when combining both therapy and modalities, the effects might be more beneficial, and you are most likely to find the required relief faster. Yet, everything is tailored by your healthcare provider individually. Do not try to self-diagnose or self-treat yourself.
Treatment with Modalities – What Medications to Take?
RA involves a complex protocol of treatment when it comes to medications. They all vary in effects and may fit certain symptoms of RA. As for the symptoms, you might want to deal with neverending pain in your joints, stiffness, swelling alongside accompanying problems such as fever, extreme weakness, and weight loss. What to be prescribed with?
Another possible modality to be prescribed is Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. They work by slowing the progression and protecting your joints/tissues from damage. For instance, it might be by Leflunomide, Methotrexate, and so on. As for the side effects, they may vary from case to case, however, lung infections and liver damage are quite common.
#2 Biologic Response Modifiers
This group of medications usually belongs to the bigger class of DMARDs, however, they are turned to, on the occasions, when first-line DMARDs are either ineffective or cause severe side effects. You may come across such solutions as Anakinra, Adalimumab, Abatacept. On the other hand, such modifiers may easily increase the chance of getting infections, so caution with prescription is required.
These nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are aimed at assisting patients with their pain. They will help to deal with temporary inflammation when you cannot tolerate it anymore. For instance, you are most likely to be referred to Ibuprofen-based drugs. Stronger painkillers NSAIDs can be used too, however, on the Rx basis only. For example, it concerns Diflucan which is primarily used to treat infections caused by fungus. With rheumatoid arthritis, it is linked to a higher probability of side effects such as stomach irritations, or kidney damage among others.
#4 Targeted Synthetic DMARDs
Another sub-class of DMARDs is Targeted synthetic drugs. They can be again prescribed in the events when first-line modalities are ineffective or linked to many severe side effects. Caution is also required because it can increase the risk of developing lungs blood clots, cancer and heart-related issues.
It particularly concerns corticosteroid medications that may assist one with their inflammation and slow joint damage. For instance, you can be prescribed Prednisone or Prednisolone. Their side effects are manifested by thinning bones, diabetes, and rapid weight gain.
#6 Antimalaria and Antifungal Modalities
Finally, a doctor may focus on inflammation in RA by involving antimalaria, antifungal medications. For example, you can be prescribed Plaquenil and Itraconazole. Plaquenil is a drug primarily prescribed to deal with malaria, while Itraconazole — infections caused by fungus. Caution with the intake is required because there are risks to developing dangerous effects on the heart. They fit acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis treatment, however, a doctor will evaluate their effectiveness for your particular case, and weigh the benefits over risks.
Finally, thanks to the medicine, there is also an opportunity to deal with RA with surgery. Yet, it fits mostly the cases when you have damaged joints, and need to repair them. It can greatly help you restore your ability to operate with the joints. Finally, it can also lead to such effects as pain relief, and improved function of the joints.
Today, the surgery can be in the next forms:
- It stands for removing the inflamed synovium or else-called lining of the joint. It will help to relieve pain, and boost joint flexibility;
- Joints fusion. It is turned to for stabilization of a joint as well as pain relief effects when you cannot be assigned to joint replacement;
- Joint replacement. A surgeon will remove the damaged joint parts, and replace them with a prosthesis;
- Tendon repair. A doctor will repair tendons that could have been previously loosening or ruptured.
Surgery also bears risks. For instance, there might be events with bleeding, infections and accompanying pain. If you believe that surgery can assist you the best, no need to think so at once. On some occasions, surgery is the last solution when first-line treatments when therapies and medications are ineffective. A doctor will again weigh the benefits over the risks. If approved, you will still need to take medications.
All in all, today you can manage rheumatoid arthritis in several ways which are all effective and can restore your previous quality of life. Please, do consider the above-mentioned information only for acknowledgement purposes. Do not assign yourself to any treatments without your doctor’s approval.