Those who have rheumatoid arthritis, whether you’ve just been diagnosed or have been dealing with the symptoms for some time, need to be aware of conditions that can develop in the later stages of the disease. Pannus is one of those conditions, but what is the link between rheumatoid arthritis and pannus?
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common autoimmune disease today. This condition, also known as RA, causes the immune system that normally protects your body from illness and other issues to attack the joints, instead. It is considered a systemic disease, which means it can and usually does affect the entire body.
What is Pannus?
Pannus is the thickening of the tissues in the joint caused by the cytokines that are released due to rheumatoid arthritis. As the pannus continues to grow, it fills more and more of the joint, which causes significant pain and can cause permanent damage. Damage to the bones is possible as well, but the most detrimental damage is to the cartilage and the synovium.
The Link Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pannus
It is the cytokines, released in the body when you have rheumatoid arthritis, that lead to swelling of the synovium. That swelling then leads to the development of pannus tissues. While pannus usually affects the joints, it can also affect other areas of the body, because of the systemic nature of the disease. This means rheumatoid arthritis and pannus can potentially have an effect on your eyes, your abdomen, and other areas.
With rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is overactive. Treatments usually include typical OTC pain meds, such as Tylenol for pain management, but also medications specifically formulated for the treatment of RA. These are known as DMARDs, or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. They work to suppress the overactive immune system. Biological therapies, such as rituximab, can also help by decreasing the number of antibodies the white blood cells produce.
By treating rheumatoid arthritis, you may be able to prevent pannus from developing, or you may be able to slow it down, if it has already started. Effectively treating it can also help prevent other complications, such as osteoporosis, infections, anemia and others. Pannus can develop and progress even with treatment. Still, today’s treatments are more effective than ever at managing symptoms. Managing the disease and related conditions can prevent permanent damage and mobility problems.
DM Clinical Research is helping trial new medications and treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and pannus. This will help create lasting change in the way RA is treated and how pannus is prevented or controlled. Contact us to see if you qualify for any clinical trials and if you would like to help us help others just like you.