Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joint lining. In addition to joint stiffness, people with RA may experience fever, fatigue, and loss of energy.
We understand that RA can disrupt and limit your everyday life. We’re committed to helping you increase function and well-being with effective treatment, including medication and lifestyle changes.
- Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
- Groups, Classes & Support
- Research & Clinical Trials
- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook
Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Getting treatment during the early stages of RA is critical. The goal is to halt the disease’s progression and help you avoid joint erosion.
Our comprehensive treatment options focus on pain relief, inflammation reduction, slowing or stopping joint damage, and improving your quality of life. We participate in clinical trials for RA, which can provide access to treatments not available elsewhere.
At your first visit, patients should expect us to review records from previous physicians including any laboratory tests or imaging studies.
We then do a complete history and physical exam, and work with you to create a personalized plan to treat your RA.
Our multidisciplinary approach includes established treatments as well as highly effective drugs that have emerged in recent years.
Treatment often involves a combination of medication, rest, exercise, joint protection, and physical and occupational therapy.
Medications include those that reduce symptoms, such as:
- NSAIDs and aspirin
We may also prescribe medications that modify the disease, such as:
Newer biologic medications, such as infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, abatacept and tocilizumab may be also very effective.
Surgery is available through our colleagues in the Department of Orthopaedics for patients who have damaged and painful joints.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis involves interdisciplinary care from several departments, including:
- Therapy Services
- Bone and Joint Institute
Our clinics are located at:
Groups, Classes & Support
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Learn more about our support groups offered at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Research & Clinical Trials
We conduct research in rheumatoid arthritis and may offer to patients participation in observational or treatment protocols.
To see all clinical trials and learn how to volunteer, visit StudyFinder.
Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.Please visit of Health Information Library for more information.