Inflammatory joint diseases treatment

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Inflammation is a process in which the body's white blood cells and proteins protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.

In some diseases, however, the body's defense system (immune system) triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances to fight off. These diseases are called autoimmune diseases. This mechanism, which is the body's normally protective immune system, causes damage to its own tissues.

Arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation in joints. Some types of arthritis are associated with systemic inflammation and these include:

• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Gouty arthritis
• Polymyalgia rheumatica

Other painful conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system that are not associated with generalized inflammation include osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain and neck pain.

Inflammation is characterized by:

• Redness
• Swelling
• Heat
• Joint pain
• Joint stiffness
• Loss of joint function
Often, only a few of these symptoms are present.

Inflammation may also be associated with general "flu"-like symptoms including:

• Fever
• Chills
• Fatigue/loss of energy
• Headaches
• Loss of appetite
• Muscle stiffness

When inflammation occurs, chemicals from white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues. This release of chemicals increases blood flow to the area of injury or infection and may result in redness and warmth. Some of the chemicals cause a leak of fluid into the tissues, resulting in swelling. This process may stimulate nerves and cause pain.

The increased number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint cause irritation, wearing down of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones) and swelling of the synovium (joint lining).

Inflammatory diseases are diagnosed after:

• Complete medical history and physical exam
• Results of imaging and laboratory tests

Inflammation can affect internal organs as part of an autoimmune disorder. The type of symptoms depend on which organs are affected. For example:

• Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) may cause shortness of breath or fluid retention
• Inflammation of the small airways in the lungs may cause an asthma attack
• Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) may cause high blood pressure or kidney failure
• Inflammation of the large intestine (colitis) may cause cramps and diarrhea

Pain sometimes is not be a primary symptom of inflammatory disease, since many organs do not have many pain-sensitive nerves.

There are a number of treatment options for inflammatory diseases including medications, rest and exercise. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors including the type of disease, the person's age, type of medications he or she is taking, overall health, medical history and severity of symptoms.

The goals of treatment are to:

• Relieve pain through analgesics (pain-relieving medications) and anti-inflammatory medications
• Maintain joint movement and muscle strength
• Decrease stress on the joints by using braces, splints or canes as needed

Ultimately, the goal is remission.

There are many medications available to decrease joint pain, swelling and inflammation and hopefully prevent or minimize the progression of the inflammatory disease. The medications include:

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
• Corticosteroids (such as prednisone)
• Anti-malarial medications (such as hydroxychloroquine)
• Other medications- called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS)- including methotrexate, sulfasalazine, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide and cyclosporine
• Biologic therapies such as etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), anakinra (Kineret), rituximab (Rituxan), abatacept (Orencia), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), tocilizumab (Actemra), Orencia, and rituximab (Rituxan). Also, oral biologics such as Xeljanz are very effective.

Get more information about inflammatory joint diseases treatment and related issues as well as...

• Insider arthritis tips that help you erase the pain and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis almost overnight!

• Devastating ammunition against low back pain... discover 9 secrets!

• Ignored remedies that eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms quickly!

• Obsolete treatments for knee osteoarthritis that still are used... and may still work for you!

• The stiff penalties you face if you ignore this type of hip pain...

• 7 easy-to-implement neck pain remedies that work like a charm!

• And much more...

Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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