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June 2, 2011

QUESTIONS ABOUT DRUGS FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS TREATMENT: FOLIC ACID, METHOTREXATE AND SULFASALAZINE

Filed under: Arthritis — admin @ 1:44 pm

What is folic acid?Folic acid is a vitamin that is usually supplemented in those taking methotrexate to reduce the side effects.
Who should not take this drug?People with liver and kidney problems, diabetes, immune system disorders, and high alcohol intakes should not take this drug. Pregnant women, women intending to get pregnant and nursing women should not be started on the drug. Women planning to conceive a child should wait at least one menstrual period after stopping methotrexate before trying. Men planning to father children should not take the drug both because it might affect fertility and because it could be harmful to the baby.
Does methotrexate interact with other drugs?Yes, it does. Evidence exists that the new COX-2 drugs increase the blood levels of methotrexate. In fact, the elderly with decreased kidney function should not take the drug. Almost every NSAID will increase the potential for problems with this agent; however, under the care of your doctor, this should not be a problem. The doctor will test you periodically for potential problems.
What is sulfasalazine?This is a sulfa-containing agent useful for the treatment of arthritis. It is not terribly toxic, but it has greater toxicity than hydroxychloroquine.It is a good drug used in combination or by itself.The usual dose is 2 grams per day by mouth; however, your doctor will start you on a low dose to see how you fare on it. Some doctors will go to 3 grams per day, depending on any side effects experienced and how your arthritis progresses on the drug.Rashes, loss of appetite, and nausea are side effects experienced with this agent. Serious reactions are rare and include hepatitis, a lupus-like disease, and even a decrease of sperm counts. Your doctor should watch for these. Men should notify their doctors if they plan on fathering children so that the drug can be stopped or replaced with something else.*34/141/5*

May 12, 2011

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: BLOOD TESTS

Filed under: Arthritis — admin @ 1:32 pm

What role does the laboratory play in the diagnosis of RA?The laboratory has a limited role in the diagnosis of RA. Unlike a disease like lupus, where patients make antibodies to several components of the body, the patient with RA has almost none. The only antibody that is common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is the rheumatoid factor. Other antibodies may be present, but they do not necessarily indicate RA. In addition to the presence of antibodies, there are other laboratory findings that doctors may look for to help them diagnose RA, including anemia (low red blood cell count) and other blood cell count abnormalities. During the course of treatment, doctors often have to monitor the patient’s health with laboratory tests, as several of the drugs used to treat RA can affect the health of many organs.
What is the rheumatoid factor?The rheumatoid factor is an antibody directed against another antibody in the blood. It is present in about 60 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients; however, its presence does not automatically indicate RA, as it is common to other disorders as well. Conversely, the absence of rheumatoid factor does not rule out a diagnosis of RA. When the rheumatoid factor is present in a RA patient, one is said to have sero-positive disease. When there is no rheumatoid factor, an RA patient is said to have sero-negative disease. Generally, sero-positive disease is more aggressive than sero-negative.
What is an ANA?ANA stands for antinuclear antibody. This antibody is directed against the nuclei of certain cells.
Is an ANA present in those with RA?Some RA patients have antinuclear antibodies, though the strength, or titer, of such antibodies is low. They are more common to other autoimmune conditions, though doctors must not overlook the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis when they detect ANAs. Too often doctors hastily make a diagnosis of lupus when they find ANAs without ruling out RA.
What is an ESR?ESR stands for erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The speed at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube helps doctors check for inflammation. The faster these cells settle, the more inflammation is present. The ESR is the test conducted to determine the rate at which the red blood cells settle.*26/141/5*

January 30, 2011

JOINTS IN RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA): INFLAMMATION

Filed under: Arthritis — admin @ 11:17 am

When considering how RA affects the joints and why it produces some of the symptoms it does, it is important to recognize that no two people with RA are exactly alike. The severity of RA varies from person to person and joint to joint. Because of these differences it is often difficult to assess precisely how much joint damage is present.

What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a common but complicated process that our bodies experience as a response to injury or infection. Inflammation is actually part of the body’s immune system response to the injury or infection. Whenever we cut or burn ourselves, for example, inflammation occurs. Inflammation also occurs at the site of an infection (a person with bronchitis, for example, has inflamed bronchi, or airways). The symptoms and signs of inflammation are warmth, pain, redness, and swelling. The amount of inflammation involved is usually proportional to the severity of the injury or infection.
Under normal circumstances, unique white blood cells called lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages strategically interact with one another to accomplish controlled inflammation. When the goal is fighting an infection, this team of cells works together to defend the body from the foreign invader causing the infection. They communicate with each other by messenger substances or signals called cytokines. In the process of fighting infection, cells produce noxious substances which cause the symptoms of inflammation. Again, under normal circumstances, after the infection is cleared, the cells retreat, and inflammation subsides. In these situations inflammatory cells are extremely useful in protecting the body. After an injury, the goal of these white blood cells is healing, and they work together to accomplish this goal.
Inflammation is usually self-limiting in that it goes away by itself after the infection is cleared from the body. As the infection goes away or the wound is healed and repaired, the signs of inflammation resolve as well.
*6/209/5*

December 20, 2010

суставной синдром

Filed under: Arthritis,General health — admin @ 4:43 pm

Первичным ведущим симптомом является суставной синдром, т.е. периодически возникающая боль и скованность движений в области позвоночника и суставов конечностей по утрам. Больное место слегка припухает. В этот период больные могут активно заниматься обычными делами. Болезнь не ограничивает профессиональную деятельность.
Далее, по мере нарастания болезни, возникает лёгкая атрофия мышц, пигментация кожи. Боли при движении, иногда в состоянии покоя, явно выраженная припухлость и температура кожи над суставом. Больные с трудом могут обслуживать себя, при резко выраженных болях они теряют профессиональную трудоспособность.
В запушенной стадии заболевания – скованность движений, боли держатся и состоянии покоя. Высокая температура тела, значительно выраженная припухлость, покраснение и температура кожи над суставом. Возможна полная потеря движений. Больные не могут обслуживать себя, теряют трудоспособность.

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