Taking charge of a ruthless disease that strikes people in their prime. Part 1of 2
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Frances Johnson: My senior year of college I was a cheerleader and the homecoming game, I woke up that morning and had a really sore painful wrist. Dr. Dean Edell: Frances Johnson vividly remembers what happened to her forty years ago. Frances Johnson: All of a sudden I was starting to get a pain, here and here, here and here and other places and I started swelling. Dr. Dean Edell: She didn't know it at the time, but she had rheumatoid arthritis or RA. Dr. Mark Genovese: Rheumatoid arthritis is a process where the immune system for unclear reasons, goes array over time resulting in stiffness, pain swelling and destruction of those joints. Dr. Dean Edell: Frances tried all kinds of treatments but finally found real relief with a drug known as a TNF inhibitor. Frances Johnson: I am very thankful. I haven't had any serious pain very much at all since taking that. Dr. Dean Edell: TNF inhibitors block specific hormones that aggravate the condition and are sometimes given with other drugs to stop further joint damage and pain. Depending on the medication, some can be administered at home while others must be given in a clinical setting. Frances Johnson: I only wish they'd had this drug when I was like 20 and I probably wouldn't be in this condition today. Dr. Dean Edell: Still, Frances is grateful for the chance to feel better again. Frances Johnson: Whether its or work, play or sickness, attitude is all. No matter what it is you do, you just keep plugging along. Dr. Dean Edell: I am Dr. Dean Edell.