arthritis is a systemic disease that leads to chronic inflammation
in the joint. The disease can occur at any age, but it usually appears
between the age of 30-50 years. Women are more affected than men.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints of hands, fingers and foot.
When large joints like knee, hip, ankle are affected, it may result
in disability. Other organs such as eyes, lung, intestine, kidney
are sometimes affected. So periodical medical-check is necessary not
only to bone and joints, but also to these extra-articular organs,
which can be carefully examined and monitored by a rheumatologist
by means of clinical evaluation, laboratory tests (blood, urine examination)
and imaging studies. Among the recent advance of laboratory tests,
highly specific anti-cyclic citrullinatedpeptide (anti-CCP) antibodies
may be used for early diagnosis.
Medication, rehabilitation, surgery if necessary are the treatment
of rheumatoid arthritis. Great advance have been made in the medication
of rheumatoid arthritis within this two decades, which includes MTX
and biologic agents.
Our clinic offers total care for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Four
factors should be considered when taking medical care of rheumatoid
arthritis patients. 1) symptoms of arthritis itself (pain, swelling,
loss of function of affected joint) 2) physical weakness and muscle
weakness 3) osteoporosis 4) mental, social and psychological factor.
The care and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis should involve all
these factors. Most important factor or combination of factors differs
according to the patient's condition and age, which usually changes
with time and severity of the disease. More often than not, patients
require anti-rheumatic drug to help control the disease. Recent advance
in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis involves the use of biologic
agents such as anti-tumor necrosis factor for patients with severe
disease. Equally important are exercise to maintain , strengthen muscles
around the affected joints (which provide more functional stability
to the joint); prevention of osteoporosis and its related disorders;
care of psychological aspects, anxiety which are often seen among
patients of rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, we would like to support the
patients from various aspects with a long point of view.