Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a tough and at times disabling disease. But advances in RA treatment are ongoing. New treatments can slow or even stop joint damage. Thanks to these advances, most people with moderate to severe RA can find treatments that offer relief of symptoms that interfere with your life.
It is important that people with RA get treatment from doctors who have been trained
to diagnose and treat RA. These doctors are called rheumatologists. Rheumatologists
have the most expertise in using advanced treatments for RA.
Goals of treatment
The main goals of RA treatment are to relieve symptoms and to keep the disease from
progressing. The specific aims of RA treatment are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1. Goals of RA treatment
- Relieve or reduce pain
- Reduce joint inflammation
- Prevent or delay joint damage
(slow the disease)
- Improve function in daily activities
- Improve well-being
Primary components of RA treatment
There are several important components of RA treatment (Table 2). Certain RA medications
can slow the progression of RA and reduce damage to joints. They can also relieve
pain and joint inflammation, making it easier to do day-to-day things. Click for
more information on
rheumatoid arthritis medications
Table 2. Main components of RA disease management
- Medications to treat symptoms
and to slow disease
- Surgery (in some cases of severe
- Regular monitoring by a rheumatologist
- Rest during acute flares of RA
- Exercise to maintain strength
- Joint care (use of assistive devices
that reduce stress on joints)
- Physical and occupational therapy
Regular doctor visits are also a key part of RA therapy. Doctor visits are needed
to monitor the course of disease, assess RA therapy, and manage any side effects
(common or serious). RA medications may periodically need to be adjusted for symptom
relief or to address possible side effects.
Other components of therapy are rest and exercise. Rest is important when RA is
active. Exercise helps maintain muscle strength, joint function, and flexibility.
Reducing stress and eating a healthy diet can also help. People with RA may benefit
from physical and occupational therapy. Self-help devices, such as zipper pullers
and other tools that make daily activities easier, can reduce stress on joints.
Are you satisfied with your RA treatment?
Because RA is a chronic disease, treatment is often lifelong. As a result, many
people find that they need to change treatment over time. One common reason is that
the medicine currently being taken may not be working well enough to control the
person's RA symptoms.
If this happens to you, talk to your doctor about your options for gaining control
of your RA symptoms. One of these options may be CIMZIA. Ask your doctor about the
potential benefits and risks of starting CIMZIA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications »