In addition to clinical examination with identification of the affected joints, imaging techniques (sonography, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging) are available to evaluate inflammation and structural damage. Differentiation from other inflammatory rheumatic diseases is important. Rheumatoid factors and anti-CCP antibodies in the blood are important diagnostic markers. The assessment of possible organ involvement (skin, heart, vessels, lung, eye, nervous system) is important.
Systemic steroids are used as a bridge until slower acting disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) become effective. The latter replace the long-term use of steroids and can favourably influence the course of the disease. These include conventional synthetic, targeted synthetic and biologic DMARDs. The early start of a DMARD therapy is crucial for the prevention of joint destruction. Non-pharmacological measures complement the therapeutic principles.
Our team cooperates in the field of rheumatoid arthritis within the Swiss Clinical Quality Management Program (SCQM).