If you or a loved one lives with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you know it’s a painful and progressive disease. Linked to misfires in the immune system that cause it to mistakenly attack healthy body tissue, inflammation associated with RA can affect your joints as well as your heart, lungs, skin, and other body systems.
Successful RA treatment strategies focus on limiting your symptoms and stalling the progression of the disease. Board-certified rheumatologist, Dr. Sona Kamat, who leads the expert care team here at West County Rheumatology in St. Louis, Missouri, is well-known and widely respected for her expertise regarding RA treatment.
Dr. Kamat often recommends biologic infusion therapy to her patients because the treatment addresses RA where it begins, within the immune system.
RA occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the healthy tissue called synovium that lines the membranes surrounding your joints. This attack causes inflammation and thickening of the synovial tissue, which leads to swelling, tenderness, warmth, and increasing pain in the affected joint.
This autoimmune disorder typically affects smaller joints first, such as those at the base of the fingers and toes. As it progresses, RA can spread to larger joints, such as the wrists, shoulders, ankles, knees, and hips, and it typically occurs in the same joints on both sides of the body at the same time.
RA can eventually destroy bones and cartilage within joints and cause supportive joint tendons and ligaments to stretch and weaken. This results in debilitating deformities as the joint shifts out of alignment, which can make even simple tasks such as holding a pen impossible.
There is no cure for RA, but medical science has made great strides in understanding and treating your symptoms as well as the underlying cause of the disease. The focus of therapy is to reduce pain and inflammation as well as preserve joint and organ health by slowing the advance of RA and initiating long-lasting periods of symptom-free remission.
At West County Rheumatology, Dr. Kamat designs a comprehensive treatment approach for her patients that includes weight loss, healthy nutrition, and other lifestyle changes that support overall wellness.
Based on your individual needs, she also includes other therapies in your RA management plan, such as:
Dr. Kamat may also recommend biologic infusion therapy as an effective tool for limiting the progression of RA.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are medications that can slow the progression of RA by suppressing the actions in your immune system that trigger the inflammation and resulting pain linked to the disease.
Biologics are a new type of DMARD. Unlike traditional DMARDs, such as methotrexate, which suppress the immune system in general, biologics offer a more targeted treatment approach.
Some biologics, for instance, target the T cells responsible for inflammation, while others attack B cells triggered by your immune system. Biologics are considered generally more effective overall than older drugs and can reduce the risks of potential side effects related to traditional DMARDs.
There are several different types of biologics available, some of which are delivered via injection. Other biologics must be administered by intravenous (IV) infusion, which we provide here at our West County Rheumatology office. Infusion therapy delivers the biologic directly to your bloodstream, which enhances its effectiveness and helps speed up the anti-inflammatory response.
For a treatment strategy that focuses on reducing your symptoms as it slows the progression of RA, schedule a visit with Dr. Kamat today. Call the office or book your appointment online.