Rheumatoid Arthritis: Some Facts and Figures about this Autoimmune Disorder – and quite a few Weblinks
By posting this article on rheumatoid arthritis, I start building up a glossary on the different types of autoimmune disorders. It will be quite a lot of work creating such an glossary, I’m fully aware of this, and this work has been done many times before by others on other websites and on other blogs.
Not a disease of the elderly: RA often starts between the age of 25 and 55!
But what I have in mind with this “autoimmune disease glossary project” is to exploit you the several mines of information I am using in my job routine, and the abundance of websites I am frequently visiting. In doing so, I start with rheumatoid arthritis, also called RA, as this autoimmune disease is the most common one and the most common inflammatory disease of the joints ever. As a matter of fact 0.5 to 1 percent of the population is affect in “The West” and in other industrialized countries. This means that in Germany about 800,000 individuals are suffering from this autoimmune disorder!
Rheumatoid arthritis, RA, is a form of arthritis. Main symptoms are pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. The disease can affect any joint but it is common in the wrist and fingers. (more…)
Is the Incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising?
Is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) actually on the rise? Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota say “yes”, and they presented data from a study, published in the June issue of the Arthritis & Rheumatism magazine – even though the authors themselves can only speculate about the reasons why.
Rheumatoid arthritis is on the rise, they found – is increased use of some lower dose birth control pills a factor?
In that recently published Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Study Elena Myasoedova, Cynthia S. Crowson, Hilal Maradit Kremers, Terry M. Therneau, and Sherine E. Gabriel from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, expanded a previous research from 1955 to 1994, looking at the years 1995 to 2007. To augment the pre-existing study they now focused on the medical records of more than 1,700 residents of Olmstedt County, Minnesota, aged 18 years or older, who had received at least one diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Yes, RA is on the rise!
What did they find out? – From 1955 to 1994, the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis had continually been on the decline. That apparently changed beginning in the mid-1990s. When the researchers analyzed patient data from early 1995 to the start of 2005, they found that both the incidence and the prevalence of the condition were rising. (more…)
Recommendations on the Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) with DMARDs
A cure for rheumatoid arthritis is not yet possible, that’s fact. However, remission is within one’s reach today.
RA treatment has undergone dramatic changes the last ten years.
Concerning this, an EULAR task force (EULAR is The European League Against Rheumatism) has recently developed and released new RA guidelines for the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), based on an systematic literature review.
In these brand new RA recommendations the dramatic developments in therapeutic options in recent years have been recognized as well as the difficulties this has created in defining simple treatment algorithms. The EULAR guidelines can be downloaded free from the EULAR journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases free of charge. (more…)
There is a Connection between Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Smoking – what are the Reasons?
Smoking might be a trigger for rheumatoid arthritis.
That smoking is unhealthy really isn’t a secret any more. However, it may be less well known that smoking is especially damaging to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or people with a genetic predisposition towards this autoimmune disease.
Until a few years ago, a coherent explanation of how smoking triggers the break in immunotolerance and why tobacco smoke promotes the onset of autoimmune disease was still missing. A group of Swedish researchers has found one of the missing links in the pathogenic chain between tobacco smoke and rheumatoid arthritis (Makrygiannakis et al., 2008). The scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm showed that cigarette smoke is directly involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. (more…)
10 Facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Clinical Understanding of the Disease
A few days ago I took notice of a review more than worth reading, published in Arthritis Research & Therapy. The article titled Development in the clinical understanding of rheumatoid arthritis; it outlined the current clinical understanding of RA, and it presents the “Top 10 Clinical Facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis”.
Paradigm change in the field of rheumatology: remission becomes obvious in innovative agents and novel treatment strategies.
Even though the article isn’t red-hot I’m positive that the “10 clinical facts on RA” by Josef S. Smolen
and Daniel Alehata
will be a great help in your daily work. – By the way: The article is available online free of charge and can be downloaded from the journal’s website
. So you will be able to pore over the original text.
The review is part of a special collection of articles about The Scientific Basis of Rheumatology: A Decade of Progress. That review series was published in Arthritis Research & Therapy at the occasion of the journal’s 10th anniversary last year (LinkOut to the series). – I’d strongly recommend this web site to anyone who is into rheumatology! (more…)
Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis Susceptibility
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune disease that is influenced by genetic and environmental factors, e.g. smoking. A group of Spanish investigators around Alejandro Balsa has recently published a study about the influence of HLA DRB1 genes on the development of RA and the production of disease-specific autoantibodies (open access, free article).
They observed a dose-dependent association between SE-alleles and ACPA-titres in a Spanish cohort of RA patients. (more…)
Are RA-specific ACPAs formed directly within inflamed joints?
Antibodies against mutated citrullinated vimentin (anti-MCV) and cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) in the serum of RA patients act as highly specific indicators of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, these antibodies indicate whether the disease is progressing aggressively. In contrast to the CCP antibodies, the anti-MCV antibodies seem to have pathogenic significance.
Earlier studies showed that the anti-CCP titre is higher in the synovial fluid of RA patients than in their serum. This study was intended to demonstrate that this is also true of anti-MCV antibodies and antibodies against other citrullinated proteins. (more…)