rheumatoid arthritis menopause

Daily Tasks Get Harder for Women with RA After Menopause

Women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) report a decline in physical function after menopause, possibly due to shifting hormone levels, according to a recent study in the journal Rheumatology.  

The researchers, led by Elizabeth Mollard, PhD, an assistant professor and advanced nurse practitioner at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Lincoln, undertook the study because there are known associations between RA and female hormones, but the connections are poorly understood. For example, RA often goes into remission during pregnancy but flares after delivery. First-time symptoms of RA appear more frequently after pregnancy, too. And for reasons that may or may not be hormone-related, women get RA at three times the rate that men do and they tend to have more pain and disability than their male counterparts.  

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rheumatoid arthritis lab tests

Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Briefs: RA Tests, Dementia, Disability

Keep up-to-date on the latest rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research with our brief research summaries.

Obesity May Affect RA Tests

Research has shown that obesity can increase the risk of RA or worsen symptoms. A new study of more than 2,000 people with RA suggests it could also affect the results of tests used to measure RA inflammation.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found a link between body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat) and elevated results of two common tests – SED rate and C-reactive protein (CRP) – used in diagnosing RA and gauging its activity. Researchers say this association is related to fat mass and not RA disease activity. Doctors should consider a patient’s BMI when interpreting lab results.

Source: Arthritis Care & Research, published online April, 2017

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family rheumatoid arthritis health risks

Children of Mothers With RA at Greater Risk of Certain Health Problems

Children born to mothers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) appear to have an increased risk of RA and two other chronic health problems, according to a study published online recently in Arthritis Care & Research, although the number of children affected is still small. The findings are based on data for all children born in Denmark over a nearly 25-year period.

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cold flu prevention ra psa

You Said It: Avoiding the Flu with RA or PsA

If you have an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), or lupus, or you take immunosuppressing drugs, you have to be extra-careful to avoid contagious diseases. We asked our readers and followers “What steps do you take to avoid getting sick during flu and cold season?” Here are their answers.

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rheumatoid arthritis biologic tapering

Research Identifies Which RA Patients May Successfully Reduce Their Biologics

A new study presented recently at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology identifies four factors that may predict which rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients might successfully taper the dose of their biologic medication.

Although biologics are highly effective in controlling RA and its symptoms, patients in some cases prefer not to use them. Past studies have shown that it is possible to taper and even stop the medication in certain patients who are in remission once they have been successfully treated with one of these drugs.

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rheumatoid arthritis and type-2 diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Risk May Be Higher With RA

People who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are known to be more likely to develop other serious health problems, including heart disease, lung disease and some types of cancer. Now a recent study in the online journal PLOS One appears to indicate they also have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Lead study author Piero Ruscitti, MD, of the University of L’Aquila in Italy, writes that he and his colleagues undertook the study to show that type 2 diabetes is common but often overlooked in RA patients.

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ra vaccines

RA & Vaccinations

Keeping up with your vaccinations is always a smart move, but getting immunized is especially important when you have an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both RA and the medicines you take to treat it can increase your risk for infections.

When Joan Wilkinson’s RA flared, her rheumatologist insisted that she and her husband get pneumonia and shingles vaccines to protect her from these common infections. “He said, ‘When you leave here today, go straight to the pharmacist,’” she recalls.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Raises Shingles Risk

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have roughly twice the risk of healthy older adults of developing shingles, a virus related to chickenpox that causes pain and a blistering rash.

Most adults have been exposed to varicella zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. This virus is never completely cleared from our bodies, but lies quietly in spinal nerve cells. If it’s reactivated it causes shingles, explains rheumatologist Jeffrey Curtis, MD, professor medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The reactivated virus is called herpes zoster or shingles.

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rheumatoid arthritis treatment to prevent joint deformities

Aggressive RA Treatment May Prevent Joint Deformities

Thanks to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments, joint deformities in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are becoming less frequent and severe.

What Causes Joint Deformities in RA?

In a joint affected by RA, inflammatory cells of the immune system gather in the lining of the joint (called synovium), forming a fibrous layer of abnormal tissue (called pannus). The pannus releases substances that quicken bone erosion, cartilage destruction and damage to the surrounding ligaments. The involved joints lose their shape and alignment, resulting in deformities. Severe deformities lead to loss of joint function and the need for joint replacement surgery.

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