11:41 AM

Rheumatoid Arthritis Relapse: 5 Things That Can Cause It—Even If You’re in Remission

SELF Magazine discusses the causes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) relapses and why they can also occur in patients who have been in remission according to experts including HSS rheumatologist, Elizabeth Schulman, MD.

For patients who have been in remission for a while, but are experiencing joint pain, swelling, and stiffness that is impacting their quality of life, there is a good chance they are experiencing a relapse. “Usually that prompts a visit to the rheumatologist to try to figure out whether or not this is just a flare of your disease or whether it's actually a relapse,” explained Dr. Schulman. “You should also be on the lookout for more subtle signs of a relapse, like fatigue and malaise. These are both signs of inflammation that don’t present right in the joints,” she added.

Dr. Schulman noted most RA patients will relapse if they are off all medications. “We still don't know who is going to be able to be in a drug-free remission and who won't get a relapse,” she said. Additionally, sometimes a medication may stop being effective and lead patients to relapse. “So the medications that have been working and controlling your disease for months, or even years, can start to be less effective because your body has almost built up a resistance to it,” cited Dr. Schulman.

Read the full article at Self.com.