Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks joints and causes damage to bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. In
autoimmune diseases, a person's immune system mistakes healthy tissue for an outside invader and attacks it. In the case of RA, the
immune system attacks cells found in your joints and other organs. This attack causes fluid to build up in the affected joints
and the joints become swollen, hot, and painful. The inflammation produces enzymes, antibodies, and proteins that damage the
cartilage in the joint. Over time, the cartilage is destroyed and the bones of the joint become unstable and extremely painful.
RA affects about 2.1 million people in the United States. The number of women with RA outnumbers men with RA by about 3-to-1. RA is
a chronic disease that often presents a pattern of periods when the disease is active (flares) interspersed with periods of relative
disease inactivity (remissions). It usually manifests between the ages of 20 and 50. Unlike OA, rheumatoid arthritis may develop very
suddenly. It usually affects the finger joints closest to the hand, wrists, elbows, and shoulders, but can affect any number of other
joints. RA typically affects joints on both sides of the body and leaves the sufferer with a general feeling of sickness and fatigue. The
morning stiffness that comes with RA generally lasts for hours.
Although there is no cure for RA, there are many successful treatments available to manage the disease. Early treatment is very important
in order to stop the progression of bone and joint damage, which can be quite severe with RA. As with other forms of arthritis, the
successful management of RA involves lifestyle changes and proper medication. The medications used to treat RA fall into two
categories. It is common to use two or more drugs in the treatment of a person's RA. The first category of medication used in
the treatment of RA address the symptoms of the disease. These include anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics to reduce pain, and
corticosteroids. The second set of medications used on RA is the disease-modifying drugs (DMARDS). As the name suggests, DMARDS
can modify the progression of RA and can help to prevent deformity and disability. Since the DMARDS can affect the immune
system, it is very important for patients to be carefully monitored by their physician during the course of treatment.
Latest News & Events
»Arthritis Centers of Texas is currently conducting clinical research for individuals
with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. If you or someone you know is interested in additional information about
these studies, please contact our Clinical Research Department at (214) 823-6503, extension 234.
Participation in Clinical Research Studies is completely voluntary.
During inclement winter weather, the main office will be closed on days that the DISD closes due to bad weather. The Richardson Office will be closed on days that the RISD closes for bad weather.