?Winning the War Against Rheumatoid Arthritis?
RA is a condition that forces half of patients to become disabled from the work force within five to ten years? and reduces life expectancy by as much as 18 years. RA affects about one per cent of the world's adult population, most commonly women between the ages of 30 and 50.
The good news is that a tremendous amount of progress has been made within the last ten years in identifying patients earlier and treating the disease more aggressively. Patients with RA, if treated appropriately, can lead a relatively normal life. This is in stark contrast to the wheel-chair bound existence common as recently as 20 years ago!
Experts in the field consider early rheumatoid arthritis to be a medical emergency with mortality and morbidity equal to that for diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions.
Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the joints in a symmetric fashion (both sides of the body affected equally) with the most common areas being the hands, wrists, ankles, knees, and feet. In addition to the swelling and pain, patients with RA often have profound fatigue and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks not only joints, but internal organs such as the blood vessels, lungs, heart, and eyes. Patients with RA are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and lymphoma.
Since many other types of arthritis such as gout, lupus, and osteoarthritis can look like RA a careful diagnostic approach is needed.
Laboratory testing has its pitfalls. The rheumatoid factor, a blood test found to be positive in about 80 per cent of individuals with RA, may also be positive in other disease conditions. Couple that with the fact that 20 per cent of patients with RA will be rheumatoid factor negative, then it becomes clear a diagnosis should not hinge on the results of blood tests alone.
Imaging procedures can also be misleading. Conventional x-rays often miss the erosions found with early disease. Newer imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound are much more sensitive.
After the diagnosis is made, there is even more hope for a patient today. In the past, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) used to be considered a cornerstone of therapy. That is no longer true.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) are being used earlier. Among the DMARDS currently being used are methotrexate, leflunomide (Arava), azathioprine (Imuran), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), cyclosporine, and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). These drugs attack the immune cells responsible for chronic inflammation. While DMARDS alone in combination are effective, they are relatively non-specific. Often, combinations of DMARDS are required.
Biologic Response Modifiers (BRMS) can target the disease more specifically than DMARDS. RA is a disease that is dependent on the signaling that occurs between immune cells. The signaling takes place through the use of special chemical messengers called cytokines. BRMS act at both the cytokine (chemical messenger) as well as the cellular level allowing the disease to be better controlled and in some instances put into remission.
Biologic response modifiers, which include drugs that suppress tumor necrosis factor (TNF), appear to be particularly effective.
Tumor necrosis factor is a protein that is produced by the immune cells. TNF is the major culprit responsible for inflammation-inducing damage. By block the effects of TNF, better control of RA can be achieved.
Three anti-TNF drugs are currently available: etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), and infliximab (Remicade). Another biologic drug, anakinra (Kineret) blocks interleukin, a different cytokine.
These drugs allow patients to have their disease controlled to such an extent that most are able to enjoy a normal work and leisure existence.
On the horizon are other biologic drugs that work at different points in the immune system- on different cytokines and on different pathways- to allow even greater as well as more specific control of disease. Since rheumatoid arthritis is a disease with many different cytokine and cellular mechanisms responsible for damage, attacking the disease at different points makes sense. In the future it may be possible to identify patients through specific tissue signals (called "biomarkers"). These biomarkers will allow physicians to type patients and give patients the specific therapy that will work best for them. Once that is achieved, the possibility of a cure becomes a reality.
Everything, though, starts with early accurate diagnosis. If damage is allowed to occur the chances for remission drop dramatically!
Dr. Wei (pronounced "way") is a board-certified rheumatologist and Clinical Director of the nationally respected Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and has served as a consultant to the Arthritis Branch of the National Institutes of Health. He is a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and the American College of Physicians. For more information on arthritis and related conditions, go to: http://www.arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com
Naturopathic Medicine is an holistic approach that relies on natural remedies. Sunlight, air, and water are thought of as natural healers; this, along with nutritional supplements and massage therapies are all part of naturopathic medicine.
Curing Lou Gehrigs Disease
ALS is the disease that took the life of the famed baseball player. The disease benched Lou Gehrig from the game that he loved and later took his life. Now, ALS is referred to as the Lou Gehrig's disease. Today more than fifty years later there still is no cure for ALS. ALS is a motor neuron disease. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The disease attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It attacks a persons muscles one at a time. Not unlike being tortured. Sadly there is no cure and no viable treatment.
Prescription Drug Side Effects: Treating From The Outside Or The Inside?
Throughout time there have always been two opposing points of view as to how to maintain good health, or how to regain it after having lost it. This conflict has continued since ancient times .... and no doubt will continue well into the future.
Technology Over Drugs for Stress Related Tension Disorders
As much as 95% of the population suffers from some form of reoccurring stress and tension related headaches.
Online Pharmacies and the FDA
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is responsible for overseeing the testing, manufacturing, and distribution of prescription drugs in the United States.
An Introduction to Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition, but in some ways it is still a mystery. There are many different theories about what causes the syndrome, and different doctors will give you different reasons for your illness ? anything from stress to bad bacteria to food intolerance. And once you have been diagnosed, there is no set form of treatment ? instead, sufferers tend to try two or three supplements or therapies to find a combination that works for them.
Prescription Drugs from International Pharmacies Save Elderly Money
As pointed out by *Jack Shapiro, an internationally-known healthcare marketing consultant "For the first nine months of this year, the U.S. imported $40 billion in pharmaceuticals and exported only $21 billion. In 2003, we imported $50 billion and exported $23 billion." So what makes buying from your local U.S. based pharmacy any safer then purchasing from Mexico or Canada?
Christopher Reeve To Have Promoted Basement Lab
Chrisopher Reeve has died. But his vision of a "Cure" has not. Mr. Reeve, who became a quadripilegic after a horse riding accident in 1995, was best known as advocate for stem cell research which promises cures for spinal cord injuries. Shortly before his death he had planned to get behind a little known biotech driven offshore By President Bush's restrictions on stem cell research. The "Cure" didn't reach Christopher Reeve in time. But a cure for the paralysis that plagued the star ?and ultimately led to his death may be in the test tubes in a basement lab in a small carribean island.
Low Blood Pressure ? Why is Your Blood Pressure Low?
Why is your blood pressure low?
A Look At Acid Reflux Treatment
Heartburn is a by-product of digestion, specifically affecting the esophagus and the stomach. The esophagus is a tube that delivers food into the stomach, and it has a valve that opens and closes to allow food in and to keep it down during digestion. This valve can become lax or get overwhelmed by too much food or too much acid. This condition causes stomach acids to reflux or spill back up through the valve onto the esophagus, fanning flames of discomfort within the center of the chest.
Prescription Drug Benefit Cost Understated by $324 Billion!
When the legislation was passed for Bush's prescription drug benefit in 2003, costs were said to be approximately $400 billion over the next decade. In great contradiction with this estimate, the centers for Medicaid and Medicare have admitted that costs will actually be around $724 billion.
Antibiotics and Bowel Flora
The word Antibiotic is constructed from Greek words anti, which means "against" and bios, meaning "life", is a phrase used to describe an antibacterial substance made from micro-organisms, all though nowadays most are made synthetically. Antibiotics inhibit the growth or destroy other micro-organisms; penicillin, cephalosporin, amino-glycosides, streptomycin and tetracycline are all examples of common antibiotics. Penicillin is the largest group of antibiotics to be used in modern clinical medicine. Misuse and overuse of antibiotics has caused a lot of bacteria to become immune to them. This is why nowadays many hospitals are having problems in combating strains of bacteria such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, other wise known as MRSA.
Signs of Suicide : Learn What They are and How to Deal with Them
The true numbers are probably much higher because many suicides are reported as accidents or illnesses. Suicides are usually the result of a complex combination of emotional, social, and biological factors. For that reason, learning about the warning signs of suicide can be difficult yet so important.
Lunesta For Insomnia: A Guide To Compare Generic Lunesta ( Eszopiclone )
We all know that there's no such thing as cheap Lunesta, but if you'd like to save money without sacrificing quality, you may want to buy Eszopiclone instead. Eszopiclone is the generic version of Lunesta, the only prescription sleep aid approved for long term use.
Acid Reflux ? Symptoms and Treatment
Acid reflux (also known as GERD or heartburn) is a common condition -- Over 60 million Americans experience it at least once a month.
Vioxx and Bextra Lawsuits Could Tie Up Courts for Years
In September, 2004, pharmaceutical giant Merck voluntarily withdrew its painkilling medication Vioxx from the market. Studies show that Vioxx increases the risk of heart attack and stroke among patients who have used the drug for longer than 18 months. Vioxx, a drug from a family of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors, is one of only a few drugs specifically designed to minimize inflammation while avoiding the stomach disorders long associated with other anti-inflammatory medications. Since its introduction in 1999, Vioxx has been a huge success, and sales of the drug worldwide topped $2.5 billion in 2003. That is certainly a great deal of money, but it pales when compared to the amount that Merck stands to lose through product liability lawsuits, which will soon come to court. As of this writing, several thousand lawsuits have been filed nationally, but attorneys estimate that the total number of lawsuits filed could reach a staggering 100,000.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Cybill Shepherd Reveals All
Cybill Shepherd has revealed that she suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The star of Moonlighting and Taxi Driver says that she has struggled with her symptoms for many years, and is now hoping to raise awareness of IBS and encourage sufferers to talk more openly with their doctors.
Zyprexa Side Effects are Deadly: Effects Include NMS
Zyprexa is a prescription drug that treats schizophrenia, acute mania and bipolar disorder. It is a psychotropic drug that treats the psychotic disorders of the mind but unlike other drugs for psychotic disorders, Zyprexa is an atypical antipsychotic. Eli Lily, the manufacturer of the drug Zyprexa, has been accused of promoting off-label prescriptions of Zyprexa, many to children, knowing that the FDA would force them to include risk information on the label and that the FDA has not approved the drug for use with children. Risks and side effects of Zyprexa include diabetes, hyperglycemia, pancreatitis, weight gain, tardive dyskinesia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome. The FDA has stated the Zyprexa should not be used if a patient is a child or has ADD, depression, addictions, treating aggressive behavior, or mood elevation, but it continues to be given to these people.
Protopic Cancer Risk Lawyer
The FDA issued a warning in July of 2005 on two skin creams, Elidel (pimecrolimus) and Protopic (tacrolimus) to all ages. Recent animal studies have found that Protopic causes lymphomas and skin cancers in an unknown percentage of users. The FDA recommends that healthcare providers be very careful prescribing and applying these medications.
Tomorrow Well Have Rabbit Feet; Cloning
I am not sure where I'm at with this subject of cloning, it sounds a bit cheesy to me; you know the old saying: something smells in Denmark. It kind of reads like this in my mind, confused mind, or maybe not so confused, maybe the world is wrong and I am right, any how it goes like this: let's kill an infant, why not, we do a million of them abortions a year that way, anyhow; now that we've legalized this, let's use some of it for fish bate. "No, no?no!" says the laboratory man (or woman), "?you've got it all wrong!" I knew that was coming. They always say that, and ten years down the road they modify. I mean, today it's absolutely right, tomorrow they say: "Well, we just didn't know back then?!" In reality, we knew a million or so people knew because most likely, they were screaming it, but others were screaming louder, and no one heard.
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