FAQs on Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment in Oklahoma
Rheumatoid arthritis is a severe autoimmune disease where the body attacks the joint lining causing chronic inflammation of the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis affects not only the body’s joints, but also some of the organs (lungs, eyes, heart, and skin).
What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis causes “flares,” which are increased symptom episodes that last for days to weeks. Patients may also have periods of remission, where they have no symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint pain, warmth/inflammation of the joint, limited mobility, stiffness, and loss of normal joint function. Other symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Shortness of breath
- Rheumatoid nodules along the joints
- Low-grade fever
How common is rheumatoid arthritis?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, around 1.5 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis. Women are 3 times more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than men, and symptoms typically present between ages 30 and 60 years. Researchers believe there is a genetic component to rheumatoid arthritis.
What causes rheumatoid arthritis?
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known, but experts have identified several risk factors. Cigarette smoking increases the risks of developing the disease. Also, certain occupational exposures put a person at risks, such as working with asbestos, wood, or silica. Experts believe increased estrogen plays a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, because it is more common among women.
How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis often involves a combination approach. The options include:
- Medications – First-line defense for RA involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Also, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as methotrexate, are used frequently.
- Physical therapy – To teach regular exercise and stretching methods, physical therapy is used.
- Stem cell therapy – Doctors are now administering stem cell injections into affected joints, as well as systemic infusions. Stem cells are capable of transforming into cartilage cells to replace/repair damaged joints. In addition, stem cells have growth factors that help repair joints.
Does stem cell therapy work?
The crucial process of treating RA involves abnormal activation of DCs, B cells, T cells, neutrophils, and macrophages. Stem cells have anti-inflammatory effects, which have been proven when used for collagen induction in mice models. In addition, systemic infusion of stem cells was proven to significantly reduce incidence and severity of arthritis in animal subjects. Researchers found that these cells to decrease arthritis by reducing inflammatory substances cytokines and chemokines.
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Papadopoulou A, Yiangou M, Athanasiou E, Zogas N, Kaloyannidis P, Batsis I, Fassas A, Anagnostopoulos A, Yannaki E. Mesenchymal stem cells are conditionally therapeutic in preclinical models of rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2012;71:1733–1740.
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