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When the body stiffens

The joints swell up, hurt at the slightest touch, and bluish bruises form, mostly at the the hands and feet, elbows, shoulders, hips and at the knee. These are the symptoms of inflammations that can also attack internal organs, the eyes and the nervous system - Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumathoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease which can cause deformation and destruction of the joints. In Germany meanwhile 800.000 patients exist, with three times more females than males affected. But why females are more likely to fall ill is still unknown.

Treating the inflammation

The cause for the disease is widely unknown but it is suspected that it is an autoimmune disease. But it was shown that genetic factors can play a role. The treatment is as in many other chronic inflammatory diseases directed towards the inflammation and the immune system but modern therapies can also combine different methods.

Meanwhile antibodies exist which are genetically engineered to recognize certain proinflammatory messengers (e.g. TNF, Tumore Necrosis Factor) and block them. Despite the progress, a cure is not available. It is only possible to stop or slow down the destruction of the joint and to easy the symptoms.

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