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Rheumatoid Arthritis Impacting Families
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects joints in the fingers, hands, and wrists, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and even deformity. But other joints, including elbows, shoulders, knees, and feet, can be affected as well.
"In a severe case, holding down a full-time job could pose a significant physical challenge," says Mario Lamothe, MD, FACR, a board-certified specialist in Rheumatology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Even simple activities such as bathing, dressing, making meals, and driving a car can become obstacles for someone with severe rheumatoid arthritis."
Early and regular treatment is the key to better patient outcomes.
"To alleviate symptoms and reduce the possibility of irreversible joint damage, early treatment by an experienced rheumatologist is of paramount importance," says Dr. Lamothe. "Research and technological advances have made it possible for us to control this chronic disease in a manner permitting most patients to remain active and productive at home and work."
A new generation of biological drugs has improved the chances of obtaining better control of the underlying inflammation causes.
"Fortunately, with modern therapies under the regular care of a knowledgeable rheumatologist, the prognosis has never been better," Dr. Lamothe concludes. "RA has gone from being a crippling, disabling disease, to a more manageable condition with symptoms sometimes unnoticed to the untrained observer."