Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating condition that affects about 1% of the total population in the United States. The disease is categorized as an autoimmune disorder, which means the body's own immune system is responsible for attacking the joints, causing pain, inflammation and damage. Like other autoimmune disorders, there is no rheumatoid arthritis cure at this time. Patients who are diagnosed with the disease will have it for the rest of their lives. Despite the lack of a rheumatoid arthritis cure, there are effective treatment options that can keep symptoms at bay and slow the progression of the disease.
One alternative to a rheumatoid arthritis cure is medication that will relieve pain and inflammation. This may begin with over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. When over the counter medications are not effective, a doctor can prescribe a more powerful dosage. Some patients also find relief from painful symptoms through home remedies like heating pads, warm baths and rheumatoid arthritis therapy. Often, a combination of medications and home remedies will offer the best alternative to a rheumatoid arthritis cure.
Another effective alternative to a rheumatoid arthritis cure is to slow the progression of the disease and delay possible joint damage. Putting the brakes on rheumatoid arthritis has become a bit easier with new medications on the market. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are one of the best choices for this purpose. These medications come under commercial names like Plaquenil and Trexall, depending on the specific ingredients of the medication. Most doctors recommend that patients begin a prescription as soon as possible to keep the progression of the disease to a minimum.
The closest thing to a rheumatoid arthritis cure today may be the ability to suppress the immune system so it no longer attacks the joints of the body. This is done through DMARDs listed above, particularly the biologic response modifiers like Enbrel and Remicade. While these drugs are not a rheumatoid arthritis cure, they can successfully put the disease into remission as long as the patient continues to take the medication. Two of the biggest drawbacks with some of the biologic response modifiers is that they must be taken by injection rather than orally and they can be rather expensive.
While there in not a rheumatoid arthritis cure at this time, there are effective treatment options available. With an early diagnosis and treatment plan, a patient can enjoy fewer symptoms and a higher quality of life.
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