Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes, Treatments, and Future Cure

explanatory Essay
1253 words
1253 words

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that has direct involvement with the immune system. This disease is considered to be degenerative and currently the only thing that can be done is manage the painful symptoms and suppress the self targeting actions by using immune suppressing drugs. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is mostly unknown but there is a high amount of evidence that there are genetic predispositions for the disease. This being said however there are also environmental factors to asses these include, bacteria, viruses, fungi and other environmental factors. Doctors primarily use a physical examination to first suspect R.A. then send for blood work to confirm. There are many aspects to this disease and many questions left unanswered, the treatments available now are only temporarily and can in some cases cause more problems than benefits. Lab experiments and clinical trials are currently showing some great results and could within our lifetimes cure many autoimmune diseases including R.A.. Although much is unknown on the causes of R.A. there are many things we see in correlation with the onset of disease. These include Bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. The mycoplasma bacteria, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus and rubella (German measles) virus have all been considered as possible causative factors but conclusive evidence is still lacking (Zeliadt, 2010). Many times there have only been considerations for infectious bacteria causing this disease but now that idea is being questioned. A study involving mice in bacteria free cages showed that the friendly gut dwelling segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) can cause onset of R.A. in greater numbers than those without. The mice that did no... ... middle of paper ... ...Retrieved Febuary 1, 2012, from HJ, W., II, I., J, D., K, H., T, S., Y, U., et al. (2010). Gut-residing segmented filamentous bacteria drive autoimmune arthritis via T helper 17 cells. PubMed . Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, May 2). Treatments and drugs. Retrieved Febuary 1, 2012, from Mayclinic: Rodak, B. F., Fritsma, g. A., & Doig, K. (2007). Hematology: Clinical Principles and applications. St. louis: Saunders Elsevier. Stem Cell Institute. (2011). Stem Cell Treatments. Retrieved Febuary 1, 2012, from cellmedicine: Zeliadt, N. (2010). When Good Germs Go Bad: "Friendly" Gut Bacteria Can Trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis in Mice. Scientific American .

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that rheumatoid arthritis is a degenerative disease that has direct involvement with the immune system.
  • Explains that although many are unknown on the causes of r.a., there are many things in correlation with the onset of disease, such as bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
  • Explains that r.a. symptoms include joint pain, swelling in joints, fatigue, lack of appetite, low-grade fever, muscle and joint aches, nodules under the skin, and stiffness.
  • Explains laboratory tests for inflammation, such as sedimentation rate, c-reactive protein, and other less commonly used tests, can be used to qualify inflammation.
  • Explains that the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (esr) is a test for general inflammation. the higher the esr, the less inflammation the patient has.
  • Explains that the c-reactive protein is a better test for inflammation and has less false positives than the esr.
  • Explains that the rheumatoid factor agglutination test is used to qualify the presence of antibodies to human antibody.
  • Explains that the ana test is specific for antibodies targeting the nucleus of the patient's cells. it has a tendency to show false positives in women over 65 years of age.
  • Explains that anti-ccp is a very powerful test if positive to determine an r.a. diagnosis. if this antibody is present then there is an elevated risk for joint and tissue damage.
  • Explains that current treatments for r.a. are minimal at best and deal with minimizing symptoms since there is currently no cure. steroids, nsaids, immunosuppressant drugs, tnf-inhibitors, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are used to reduce inflammation or slow the disease progression.
  • Describes the stem cell institute's experimental treatments for r.a., which involve stem cells. the cells undergo a minimum of 7 days in the lab and are tested for bacterial contamination.
  • Explains that r.a. is characterized by chronic inflammation, joint disfigurement, and pain. the current treatment modalities are insufficient and are only directed at treating the short term symptoms.
  • Explains that rheumatoid arthritis: early diagnosis and treatment.
  • Explains that gut-residing segmented filamentous bacteria drive autoimmune arthritis via t helper 17 cells.
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