Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include both medication and non-pharmacological measures - the goal being to control joint inflammation and prevent joint damage and disability. Non-pharmacological treatment includes physical therapy, splints and braces, occupational therapy and dietary changes but these do not stop the progression of joint destruction. painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, including steroids, suppress symptoms, but do not stop the progression either. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may slow or halt the progress of the disease. Biological DMARDS like anti-TNF agents are effective but usually avoided in persons with active disease or hypersensitivity to these agent. They have been shown to decrease the number of tender or swollen joints and the pain and disability due to the disease but there is little data about side effects. Alternative medicine is not supported by any evidence.
RA affects between 0.5 and 1% of adults in the developed world with between 5 and 50 per 100,000 people newly developing the condition each year. Onset is most frequent during middle age, but people of any age can be affected. The name is based on the term “rheumatic fever”, an illness which includes joint pain and is derived from the Greek word ῥεύμα-rheuma (nom.), ῥεύματος-rheumatos (gen.) (“flow, current”). The suffix -oid (“resembling”) gives the translation as joint inflammation that resembles rheumatic fever. The first recognized description of RA was made in 1800 by Dr. Augustin Jacob Landré-Beauvais (1772–1840) of Paris.
Findings suggest that patients with rheumatoid arthritis with osteopenia or osteoporosis, particularly those with lower body mass index (BMI), should be screened regularly to determine the status of their cervical spines. 1).