- Rheumatoid Arthritis Slideshow
- Take the RA Quiz
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercises Slideshow
- Rheumatoid Arthritis FAQs
- Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs
- Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Experience
- Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Prognosis
- Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Diet
- Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Diagnosis
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) facts
- What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
- Rheumatoid arthritis vs. osteoarthritis
- What are causes and risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis?
- What are complications of rheumatoid arthritis?
- What are rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and signs? What does rheumatoid arthritis feel like?
- What tests do physicians use to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis?
- What are the stages of rheumatoid arthritis?
- What is the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis? What types of medications treat RA?
- "First-line" rheumatoid arthritis medications
- "Second-line" or "slow-acting" rheumatoid arthritis drugs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs)
- What are newer rheumatoid arthritis treatments?
- Rheumatoid arthritis diet, exercise, home remedies, and alternative medicine
- What about rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
- What are tips for living with rheumatoid arthritis?
- Is it possible to prevent rheumatoid arthritis?
- What specialists treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
- What new information about RA has come from the 2015 national meeting of the American College of Rheumatology?
- What research is being done on rheumatoid arthritis?
- Where can people get additional information on rheumatoid arthritis?
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Pictures Slideshow
What about rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy?
In general, rheumatoid arthritis often improves during pregnancy. It is commonplace for the rheumatoid joint inflammation to decrease and be minimized during pregnancy. Unfortunately, this reduction of joint inflammation during pregnancy is not usually sustained after delivery.
Medications that are commonly used to treat inflammation, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and others, are not used during pregnancy. Drugs that are used to stop the progression of rheumatoid disease, such as methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) and cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), are not used during pregnancy and also must be discontinued well in advance of conception because of potential risks to the fetus. Biologic medications are avoided during pregnancy when possible.
When rheumatoid arthritis is active during pregnancy, steroid medications such as prednisone and prednisolone are often used to quiet the joint inflammation. These medications do not adversely affect the fetus.
What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
With early, aggressive treatment, the outlook for those affected by rheumatoid arthritis can be very good. The overall attitude regarding ability to control the disease has changed tremendously since the turn of the century. Doctors now strive to eradicate any signs of active disease while preventing flare-ups. The disease can be controlled and a cooperative effort by the doctor and patient can lead to optimal health.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes disability and can increase mortality and decrease life expectancy to lead to an early death. Patients have a less favorable outlook when they have deformity, disability, ongoing uncontrolled joint inflammation, and/or rheumatoid disease affecting other organs of the body. Overall, rheumatoid arthritis tends to be potentially more damaging when rheumatoid factor or citrulline antibody is demonstrated by blood testing. Life expectancy improves with earlier treatment and monitoring.
Finally, minimizing emotional stress can help improve the overall health in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Support and extracurricular groups provide those with rheumatoid arthritis time to discuss their problems with others and learn more about their illness.