There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. But clinical studies indicate that rheumatoid remission of symptoms is more likely rheumatoid when treatment begins rheumatoid early with medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs rheumatoid (DMARDs).
NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce rheumatoid inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
Steroids: Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, reduce inflammation and pain and slow joint damage. Side effects may include thinning of bones, weight gain and diabetes.
Conventional DMARDs: These drugs can slow the progression of arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall, Otrexup, others), leflunomide (Arava), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). Higher doses of tofacitinib can increase the risk of blood clots in the lungs, serious heart-related events and cancer.
Other common blood tests look for factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.
Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of arthritis in your joints over time. MRI and ultrasound tests can help your doctor judge the severity of the disease in your body.
Arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Normally, your immune system helps protect your body from infection and disease. In arthritis, your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your joints.
Your sex: Women are more likely than men to develop arthritis.
Age: Arthritis can occur at any age, but it most commonly begins in middle age.
Family history: If a member of your family has arthritis, you may have an increased risk of the disease.
Excess weight: People who are overweight appear to be at a somewhat higher risk of developing arthritis.
Osteoporosis: Rheumatoid arthritis itself, along with some medications used for treating arthritis, can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Dry eyes and mouth: People who have arthritis are much more likely to develop Sjogren’s syndrome, a disorder that decreases the amount of moisture in the eyes and mouth.
Infections: Rheumatoid arthritis itself and many of the medications used to combat it can impair the immune system, leading to increased infections.