House Call: Signs, symptoms and treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, progressive, disabling disease that occurs when the immune system begins to fight the joints. 

Differing from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis most often affects the padding of the smaller joints of the body, such as the fingers, hands, toes and wrist. 

Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain and stiffness in the joints, fatigue, and joint swelling and inflammation, which can eventually lead to joint destruction. Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include gender, family history, smoking/tobacco use, stress, infection and experiencing trauma. 

Fortunately, there are many treatment advancements and options available for those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis. Medications such as anti-inflammatories and prednisone are used to provide immediate relief of the condition’s symptoms. 

Disease modifying agents (DMARDs) are often prescribed to suppress the immune system, which prevent it from attacking the joints and other organs. Rheumatoid arthritis is also treated with more potent and powerful medications known as biologics, which also suppress the immune system and help prevent joint damage. 

Advancements in medication and treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis have proven to be extremely effective in reducing inflammation, disease progression and joint erosion, while also improving patients’ quality of life. 

Cone Health Network has an exceptional team of rheumatologists and other related healthcare providers dedicated to providing individualized care for those diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis throughout the community.

Spokesperson Background:

 Dr. Shaili Deveshwar is a rheumatologist at The Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics Center, and a member of Cone Health Medical Staff. Dr. Deveshwar is a 1986 graduate of LLRM Medical College. She completed her residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in rheumatology at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.