Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where certain cells in the immune system malfunction and attack healthy joints. Affecting 1.3 million Americans, it is the most common kind of chronic arthritis that is caused by the immune system.
Symptoms range from pain and stiffness in the joints to fever, loss of appetite and the development of nodules that grow under the skin near joints. While there is no cure, early diagnosis and effective rheumatoid arthritis treatment can help manage symptoms and slow joint damage. A common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) given concurrently with NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Low-dose prednisone or other corticosteroids are another option. These treatments relieve symptoms dramatically in most patients. For patients with severe joint damage, joint repair or joint replacement surgery can help patients return to comfortable and productive lives.
For patients seeking diagnosis and rheumatoid arthritis treatment from a leading research center and treatment provider, Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston offers a world-class Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of chronic arthritis caused by the immune system – affecting 1.3 million Americans. Symptoms and their degree of impact can vary greatly, and the earlier the disease is diagnosed and treatment begins the better. In this video, Michael E. Weinblatt, MD, Co-Director, Clinical Rheumatology and R. Bruce and Joan M. Hickey Distinguished Chair in Rheumatology, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), discusses rheumatoid arthritis treatment along with an overview of promising research at BWH.
The BWH Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases provides world-class care and treatment for more than 100 causes of arthritis, including lupus, gout and pseudogout, spine disorders, and the immune system, as happens in rheumatoid arthritis.
The Center has a long history of innovation and focus on arthritis – it originated as the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, the first teaching hospital in the U.S. focused solely on rheumatoid arthritis and other related conditions. The Center's innovative research and therapeutic developments have helped to advance the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other joint diseases, and earned BWH the distinction of being named one of the top providers of rheumatology services, including rheumatoid arthritis therapy, in the U.S.
The Center is staffed by one of the largest and most diversified teams of rheumatologists and allergists in the country, who regularly collaborate with other BWH specialists in physiatry, pain management, bone and joint radiology and other services to deliver comprehensive care to more than 30,000 arthritis patients annually.
Other services offered by the Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases include:
BWH Research on treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
As a leading rheumatology, immunology and allergy research facility, BWH has contributed to advances that have significantly changed the practice of rheumatology and rheumatoid arthritis treatment. BWH researchers, for example, have helped to develop the TNF blockade – a highly effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and one of the most exciting medical discoveries in the past decade.