Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the lining of your joints, causing painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
RA typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet first, and then spreads throughout the arms and legs.
Good control of RA requires early diagnosis and, at times, aggressive treatment to reduce symptoms and poor function. Doctors will begin proper medical therapy as soon as possible, before your joints have lasting damage.
- Seek a rheumatologist to make a proper diagnosis and advise you about the best treatment options.
- Begin treatment with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). They not only relieve symptoms but also slow progression of the disease.
- Visit your doctor frequently to track your disease and check for any medication side effects.
With the right medications, many patients can achieve “remission” – that is, have no signs of active disease.