Donate to Rheumatoid Arthritis Research, Patient Care and Education

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that creates joint pain and damage. It is a form of arthritis that affects approximately 1.5 million people in the United States. Nearly three times more women than men have RA. RA strikes women between the ages of 30 and 60, while it attacks men later in life. Genetics may raise your chances of having RA; however, no family history of it is found with the majority of patients diagnosed.

Both sides of the body are usually damaged. If one joint is affected in one arm, the same joint will be affected in the other arm. This is typical of RA; however, it may not always be true for everyone affected by RA. This is how physicians recognize RA from other forms of arthritis. Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation directly benefits those suffering from RA by helping our scientists in their effort to discover a cure.

A patient with RA’s immune system attacks the joints and creates inflammation; the reason for this is not yet known. Generally, RA affects the hands, wrist and feet. Additional early signs include redness or joint swelling, tenderness and pain in the joints for six weeks or longer.  Knowing the symptoms of RA will help you pursue a diagnosis sooner and aid your physician in making a diagnosis. Furthermore, along with the pain, other symptoms that you may experience include fatigue, slight fever and loss of appetite. It is important that you do not ignore these symptoms when you experience them; make an appointment with your physician when you notice them.

To diagnose RA, a series of tests are conducted over time. First, the physician will discuss your medical history and symptoms. If the results show positive for RA, your physician will refer you to a rheumatologist, a physician who specializes in the treatment of RA. Additional tests like ultrasonography, X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be required to determine the extent of the disease. Scientists at Northwestern Medicine are searching for conducting research to ultimately eradicate RA; your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation helps them accomplish this goal.

There is no way to eliminate RA, but there are several ways to manage the pain and control inflammation. The goal of the treatment plan is to stop inflammation, relieve symptoms, prevent joint and organ damage and improve overall well being. Hopefully, the RA goes into remission by the end of the treatment’s course.

Many medications are available to use to ease the pain and inflammation. There are several medications that may be used to slow down the damage RA inflicts on your body. The following are a few of those medications that slow the progression of RA:

  • Corticosteroids
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • biologics (a subset of DMARDs)
  • Janus kinase (JAK inhibitors)

Rheumatoid Arthritis Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Rheumatology at Northwestern Medicine is focused on the expedient diagnosis and treatment of RA. We are home a number of specialists, such as a rheumatologist, orthopedic surgeons, and physical rehabilitation specialists. The goal at Northwestern Medicine is to help improve the quality of life for patients with RA. You can support this goal by making a contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation. It is vital to discover the causes and improve treatments for RA; with your support, Northwestern Medicine will continue making breakthroughs in the research of RA.

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