Lindsay Rosenwald: Some Basic Information About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disorder, affects about 1 percent of the American population. Women are three times as likely as men to develop the condition.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of a patient’s joints becomes inflamed. The disorder often involves the skin, eyes, lungs, and heart, as well as the nervous and circulatory systems. The patient’s body comes under attack from his or her own immune system, which mistakenly targets healthy organs and tissues as if they were diseased. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and feelings of extreme warmth, usually in symmetrical parts of the body such as knees or wrists. Individuals who suffer from RA may additionally experience feelings of stiffness, fever, or long-lasting exhaustion. While some patients notice a rapid onset and progression of symptoms, the disease moves forward gradually in others.

Most people who develop rheumatoid arthritis first experience symptoms in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, but it can manifest at any age. The condition occurs more frequently in smokers and those with an affected family member. If not treated successfully, RA can produce swelling that wears away bone and deforms joints.

The key to slowing the progression of RA is early and aggressive intervention. Treatments concentrate on relieving symptoms and preventing serious damage to the joints.

Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald, a successful Wall Street investor in the biotechnology industry and a physician formerly in practice in Philadelphia, has established and funded a variety of start-up biotechnology companies. Companies he has funded have been instrumental in developing medications that target rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, and other diseases.

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