They were shocked when their daughter was diagnosed with RA at 26

Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis unique to individual patient


Dear Doctor: We were shocked when our daughter, who is 26, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I thought arthritis was something that elderly people got. What treatments are available, and what are our daughter’s prospects for an active and healthy life?

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Dear Reader: We’re very sorry to hear about the medical challenge your family is facing and hope the information we offer will be of help.

When it comes to what is commonly referred to as “arthritis,” we’re actually talking about two different conditions. Osteoarthritis, which is the type of arthritis you’re thinking of in regards to a more elderly population, is a degenerative disease. In osteoarthritis, the tissues of the joints deteriorate due to wear and tear. When the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to break down, it leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. Joint damage occurs because the immune system has gone haywire and begins to target the body’s own tissues. Although RA most commonly affects the joints, it can also involve other parts of the body, including the lungs, digestive system, circulatory system, skin and eyes. READ THE FULL STORY IN THE HANFORD SENTINEL