Wereldreumadag on the 12th of October is a good time to think about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of arthritis. About one out of every one hundred of Dutch people have this problem. The Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), does Annette van der Helm to research a cure and prevent the disease.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Van der Helm: “Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immuunaandoening. This means that the immune system of your own body to behold for the enemy invaders, and that it will work. In rheumatoid arthritis, this is at your own gewrichtsbekleding, and you get to become inflamed joints. Exactly how this occurs, we do not yet know well. In the Netherlands, one in every hundred people will suffer for it.”
Is the RA the same as rheumatoid arthritis?
“No, no, rheumatoid arthritis is a form of rheumatoid arthritis. It is the most common form of ontstekingsreuma. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by inflammation of the hands and the fusions. Other forms of rheumatoid arthritis, other joints to be involved, or is the arthritis is a less-important role.”
Facts about rheumatoid arthritis
- The disease often begins in patients between forty-five and fifty years of age.
- Two-thirds of the patients were women, one third men.
- Heredity plays a very small role in this.
- People with first degree relatives with rheumatoid arthritis have twice the risk of the disease, but in terms of absolute numbers, the potential is small.
What the symptoms of the disease?
“Patients often have a swollen, painful joints. Especially in the hands and feet are painful and stiff and the people are suffering from fatigue. It is a chronic disease, which means that the disease is not over.”
“Twenty years ago there were a lot of patients with fused joints to be in a wheelchair, now, it’s done anymore.”
Annette van der Helm, researcher at leiden university medical center
“Over time, the inflamed joints become deformed. Twenty years ago, a lot of patients with fused joints to be in a wheelchair. We then thought that the disease was all about.”
However, there is something to do with it?
“Yes.” You see, in the last fifteen to twenty years, almost no rheumatics ‘ in a wheel chair. That is, on the one hand, because there are better drugs to suppress the inflammation, but it is also because we are more aware of the complaints and the diagnosis, rather they want to know. In the very early diagnosis of is can be more profitable.”
How to do this?
“In the past, it was thought that arthritis was only expressed, when you’re on the outside, one could see that the joints are swollen, and were. But we know now that the disease has already manifested. People who have swollen and painful joints, the doctor to come in, have had half a year to a year before, suffered from pain in the joints, rigidity, and fatigue. Also, an MRI of the inflammation is often from six to twelve months in advance of the show.”
“Our hypothesis is that we are at a very early behandelstart be able to prevent the symptoms become chronic. It is a weed. You can fight for the top of the soil to be cut, but it will always come back, because you are the problem, not the root causes approach. We want our research to see if we have previously been able to take action. With a shorter treatment, better functioning of the patient, with less pain and fatigue.”
In the past, it was thought that arthritis was only expressed, when you’re on the outside, one could see that the joints are swollen, and were. We know now that the disease has already manifested. (Image: 123RF)
What does this research look like?
“We have people looking for those that have a great chance to after a period of time, rheumatoid arthritis will get. Nearly one-half of the patients at one year of treatment with methotrexate, and the other half will receive a placebo, a has.”
“After that, the patients were for one year without the medication followed in order to see whether or not the reduction of symptoms is permanent. It will be a while before we get the survey to complete it and to draw conclusions. But, hopefully, we’ll know within the next two years.”
So what can we do if we suspect rheumatoid arthritis?
“Unfortunately, the diagnosis can only be made when the inflammation is on the outside and is visible. But, if you have are suffering from morning stiffness, aches and pains in the hands and feet, and buttoning a shirt or opening a pack of juice or milk in the morning more of a challenge, please get in touch with the doctor.”
“The doctor can assess whether or not a referral to the rheumatologist makes sense. Hopefully, our research on the diagnosis, the future can be made.”
Do you have high hopes for the future.
“Sure. We have come a long way as the rheumatoid arthritis goes. In the past few years, many developments have been done to make the lives of rheumatic patients greatly improve. I am proud to announce that we are now even hope is unable to be loved. And that hope is real. I think it’s honorable to of our research is to contribute to the reumaonderzoek and I hope that your rheumatoid arthritis in the long run, may be avoided.”
Annette van der Helm is a researcher at the leiden university medical center. She is doing research on rheumatoid arthritis.