Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can result in bone erosion, causing permanent joint damage. Learn how to manage it. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that occurs when the body's immune system targets its own healthy cells. This condition commonly affects joints throughout the body, breaking down soft tissues, such as ligaments and
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that occurs when the body's immune system targets its own healthy cells. This condition commonly affects joints throughout the body, breaking down soft tissues, such as ligaments and cartilage. However, RA can also cause bone erosion.
This article discusses bone erosion that occurs with RA, including causes, symptoms, and management of your condition.
Bone erosion is a gradual loss of bone that occurs from inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Bone erosion can show up as early as the first couple of months after diagnosis. About 60% of people with RA have bone erosion after one year.
RA causes inflammation of connective tissue in joints called the synovial membrane. The membrane grows larger and causes breakdown of cartilage (padding between bones in the joint) and bone erosion. Overactivity of cells called osteoclasts is responsible for bone erosion in RA.
When bone erosion is present, typically, your condition is more severe and you'll have more difficulties with daily function.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes significant joint damage, leading to the following symptoms:
There aren't any "unique" symptoms for bone erosion. Imaging is often used to assess joint damage with RA, including bone erosion.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to detect fluid buildup in the bone marrow, which is an early sign of bone erosion. X-rays are commonly used to determine the joints that are affected by bone erosion, and determine how quickly your bones are breaking down.
Unfortunately, there's no way to prevent bone erosion from occurring with rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment for bone erosion begins with targeting your overactive immune system, which is causing joint inflammation.
Certain RA medications have been shown to stop bone erosion and help repair some of the damage that has occurred. However, bone erosion from RA cannot be fully reversed.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. However, not all DMARDs are effective for treating bone erosion. Traditional DMARDs target your overactive immune system as a whole to decrease inflammation but aren't very effective for repairing bone erosion.
Biologic DMARDs are made from proteins in human genes. These medications target specific cells in your immune system and have been shown to help partially repair bone erosion.
Tips for joint protection include:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that often causes bone erosion. Excess inflammation builds up in affected joints, leading to pain, stiffness, swelling, loss of motion, and difficulty with mobility.
Bone erosion is not preventable, but treatment can help slow the progression of damage to your joints. Treatment includes medications that target your immune system and joint protection strategies to help reduce symptoms.
Bone erosion is a serious side effect of rheumatoid arthritis that can lead to significant disability. Early detection and treatment are important for managing your symptoms. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions and make a practice of incorporating joint protection practices into your daily life. For additional support and tips, consider joining a support group.
Bone erosion caused by rheumatoid arthritis is not fully reversible. However, certain medications can help stop the progression of bone loss and partially repair bone loss that has already occurred.
Bone erosion is the breakdown of bone that occurs from excess inflammation in your joints. This is a common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.
Bone loss (bone erosion) affects about 60% of people with rheumatoid arthritis within one year of diagnosis.