Medical Specialty >> Rheumatology

Doctors Lounge - Rheumatology Answers

Back to Rheumatology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 8/21/2017.

Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: General Information about RA

 bafrog - Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:49 pm

My wife was diagnosed with RA 2 years ago. She's always been afraid to look on line to find out information about it because there seems to be some horrible images relating to RA. She wants to know if, when she has a flare-up (joints hurting badly, tiredness), , does this indicate that damage is being done to her joints? She takes Plaquenil twice a day. Thank you.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:01 pm

Hello bafrog,

Rheumatoid arthritis is an unpredictable disease, since it can be dormant for long periods of time or have frequent flares. When flares occur and pain is increased, it is an indication of increased inflammation, and damage can occur. Plaquenil is often supplemented by short courses of prednisone during flares, which addresses the inflammation and reduces damage to the joints. Fatigue is a chronic factor in autoimmune disease, and it is also unpredictable. Allowing for routine adequate rest is helpful both to fatigue and stress on muscles and joints. If the flares increase in frequency, your wife's rheumatologist will likely consider immunosuppressant therapy, or a drug known as methotrexate.

If your wife would like to learn more about rheumatoid arthritis online, looking in Wickipedia is helpful, as it gives a good overview of conditions and often includes information about usual treatment, without the frightening pictures. The Lupus Foundation has information about most autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, and can be accessed online, as can the American Rheumatological Association. If you have any questions that you'd like me to help with, please don't hesitate to ask.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Good luck.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us