Is there a cure for Rheumatoid arthritis?

April 9, 2010

RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) is a chronic disease wherein the body identifies its own joints as foreign & attacks them. This is a dysregulation of the normal immune mechanisms in the body. The function of the immune system is to identify the foreign agents such as microbes & protect the body against them by eliminating them. However, due to unknown reasons, the immune system starts identifying its own joints as foreign, mounts an offensive against them & that is how RA develops.
This dysregulated mechanism is caused by an interaction between genetic factors, environmental factors (like smoking) & immune mechanism. Despite the numerous scientific advances, we have still not been able to clearly disentangle the complex causative mechanisms & their interactions. Given the incomplete understanding, a cure of this dysregulation is not yet possible.
In this respect, RA is similar to chronic diseases like hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). In these diseases, since a cure is not possible; tight control to avoid organ damage is the main goal.
Similarly, though the RA related dysregulation is incurable, control is a definite possibility. With early diagnosis, early DMARD therapy; RA activity can be tightly controlled & joint damage prevented.
By wearing spectacles, one is not cured of the refractory error; but is as good as a normal person. Similarly, there may not be a cure for RA, but that should not stop one from being a normal person. One can definitely achieve conquest over RA when diagnosed & treated early with definite medicines (DMARDs).

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