RD Disease Briefing

Observations Prepared by Dragon Claw from a variety of sources covering Rheumatoid Disease, Lupus and JIA.

Most people take heaps of medicines but they boil down in to three kinds: 1) to reduce disease spread; 2) supplement drug to address vitamin and mineral issues; and 3) to reduce symptoms. We are prescribed disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs that suppress aspects of the immune system.  More recently Biologics have come on the market.  Even with these some pain, fatigue, stiffness and drug side effects are typical. 

The disease can cause problems with various organs or systems, including the circulatory or nervous systems, eyes, skin, heart, or lungs.  These are well documented in the medical literature.  Because we can look well but underneath feel terrible, these diseases are pretty much invisible to the common person.  What makes it worst is that most of us don’t like talking about the symptoms.  Common symptoms such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, stiffness, pain, weakness, and dry eyes are not obvious to others.

It is vital that you get specialist medical advise during the early stages of theses diseases.  Do not, on any account, delay as rapid and aggressive treatment will minimise damage and reduce the extremes of pain.  Medications can be expensive and complex to administer.  Ensure you are disciplined in taking your medications and in visiting your GP and/or specialist.

Throughout Dragon Claw we tend to use the phrase “Rheumatoid Disease” as a catch all for our three target diseases.  In addition, using the word ‘arthritis’ is misleading as many people associate arthritis with older people who have sore hands.

Some of us will develop or already have secondary issues, often called co-morbidities, associated with our primary condition.  The followings list some of the co-morbidities:

  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Cricoarytenoid Arthritis
  • Iritis
  • Pleurisy
  • Vasculitis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Renal Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease

Selected Blood Tests for Rheumatoid Disease

  • Full Blood Count: measures platelets, white blood cells and haemoglobin
  • ESR: erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • CRP: C-reactive protein
  • RF: Rheumatoid Factor, very general measure
  • Anti-CCP: Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide

Selected Common Drugs

  • Paracetamol
  • Codeine
  • Opiates
  • Celebrex
  • Nerofen
  • Methotrexate
  • Salazopyrin
  • Leflunomide
  • Prednisolone
  • Nexium
  • Folate

Some Other Therapies

  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation
  • Green Lipped Mussels
  • Green Tea
  • Turmeric with black pepper
  • Warm Water Exercise

Home Helpers

  • Extended jar lid grippers
  • Extended bottle openers
  • Gloves
  • Knives and forks with large handles
  • Walking stick with a rubber end
  • Bathroom safety rails
  • Steering wheel knob for the car
  • Disability car parking privileges
  • Door and cupboard levers not round knobs

Your Healthcare Team

  • General Practitioner
  • Rheumatologist
  • Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Optometrist
  • Dieticians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Physiologists
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists
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