Sue Walker

Sue Walker

Guest Blogger at See Full Details
Sue is a Registered Nurse and holds a Masters Degree in Primary Health Care majoring in Palliative Care. Sue has extensive experience both as a clinician, educator, and senior manager in the aged care, mental health, and palliative care settings.
Sue Walker

Claiming CPD Relevance

You can claim the reading and reflection of this post as a CPD activity if it is relevant to your current role. Approximate time allocation for this post is 1 hour. Don’t forget to download the Self Directed CPD Activity Certificate Template by subscribing to the Nursing News Blog. Don’t forget to download the Self Directed CPD Activity Certificate Template by subscribing to the Nursing News Blog. Click here to subscribe>>

Rheumatoid Arthritis Update

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterised by inflammation of the joints, causing inflammation, pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis most often affects the hand joints and both sides of the body at the same time.”

Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 2% of the Australian population. It is more common in people over the age of 75 and more woman than men are affected by the disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes significant disability due to the impact of physical limitations, pain, fatigue, and the impact on the individual’s mental health.

“The goal of rheumatoid arthritis treatment is to stop inflammation (put the disease in remission), relieve symptoms, prevent joint and organ damage, reduce complications and improve physical function. Early treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is aggressive in order to stop inflammation as soon as possible.”

Medication is one part of the treatment. Methotrexate is the backbone of Rheumatoid arthritis treatment and about 40% of patients will respond to this. However, “the combination of methotrexate with sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine, so-called ‘triple therapy’, has greater efficacy than monotherapy in both early rheumatoid arthritis and non-responders, but higher toxicity.”

There are still a number of Myths regarding methotrexate – that it is toxic, that it cannot be used with other NSAID’s, that the person taking the drug should not go near pregnant women, that self-administration by injection is unsafe. Click here>> to download a great patient education sheet on the use of Methotrexate.

To read the full article from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare click here>>

To read the full article from the NPS website click here>>, In particular, I would draw your attention to the table Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and monitoring in rheumatoid arthritis. There are a number of side effects that your client should be aware of.

There are a number of Non-pharmacological methods in the market place from magnets in underlays to copper bracelets – as well as a number of herb and vitamin remedies. The ones that show some scientific evidence include a healthy diet and limiting alcohol. The use of meditation for stress management can be useful. Remaining active and exercising the joints has also shown to be useful. The Arthritis Australia has some great consumer information available – click here>>