(RA; Arthritis, Rheumatoid)
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- Genes—People with rheumatoid arthritis may have a specific genetic defect that increases their risk for developing this condition.
- Defects in the immune system may cause the immune cells to fail to recognize the body’s own tissues.
- Infection with specific viruses or bacteria that kick off an abnormal immune response.
- Chemical or hormonal imbalances in the body.
- Family members with RA
- Excess weight or obesity
- Heavy or long-term smoking
- Increased pain and stiffness in the morning and after inactivity
- Morning stiffness and pain that lasts more than 30 minutes
- Red, swollen, warm joints
- Deformed, misshapen joints
- Intense fatigue, decreased energy
- Muscle aches
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Fever and sweats
- Small lumps or nodules under the skin
- Sjogren's syndrome —an inflammatory condition involving the tear and salivary glands
- Felty syndrome—three conditions marked by rheumatoid arthritis, enlarged spleen, and low levels of white blood cells
- Caplan syndrome—marked by rheumatoid arthritis and pneumoconiosis (lung disease in people exposed to coal mining dust or asbestos)
- Raynaud's disease and phenomenon
- Muscle inflammation
- Muscle weakness
- Kidney disease
- Relieve pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Slow down joint damage
- Improve functional ability
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Cyclooxgenase-2 or COX-2 inhibitors
- Nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
Rest and Exercise
- Maintain a balance between rest and exercise
- Attempt mild strength training
- Participate in aerobic exercise, such as, walking, swimming, or dancing
- Avoid heavy-impact exercise
- Control weight
- Participate in a physical therapy program
- Zipper extenders
- Long-handled shoehorns
- Specially designed kitchen tools
American College of Rheumatology http://www.rheumatology.org
Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Rheumatology Association http://rheum.ca
Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/rheumatoid-arthritis. Accessed August 21, 2013.
Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Rheumatic%5FDisease/default.asp. Updated April 2009. Accessed August 21, 2013.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 2, 2013. Accessed August 21, 2013.
Who gets RA? Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritistoday.org/about-arthritis/types-of-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis/who-gets-ra-and-why/who-gets-ra/how-do-you-get-ra.php. Accessed August 21, 2013.
Tanaka E, Saito A, et al. Impact of shoulder, elbow, and knee joint involvement on assessment of rheumatoid arthritis using the American College of Rheumatology Core Data Set. Arthritis Rheum. 2005;53:864-871.
Verstappen SM, Bijlsma JW, et al. Overview of work disability in rheumatoid arthritis patients as observed in cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys. Arthritis Rheum. 2004;51:488-497.
4/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed Zautra AJ, Davis MC, Reich JW, et al. Comparison of cognitive behavioral and mindfulness meditation interventions on adaptation to rheumatoid arthritis for patients with and without history of recurrent depression. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008;76:408-421.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Anis A, Zhang W, Emery P, et al. The effect of etanercept on work productivity in patients with early active rheumatoid arthritis: results from the COMET study. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009;48:1283-1289.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Aletaha D, Neogi T, Silman AJ, Funovits J, et al. 2010 rheumatoid arthritis classification criteria: an American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism collaborative initiative. Ann Rheum Dis. 2010;69(9):1580-1588.
4/24/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Wise JN, Weissman BN, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for chronic foot pain. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/ChronicFootPain.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed April 24, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2014 -
- Update Date: 04/24/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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