Post Edited (Aldo) : 6/28/2006 5:04:38 AM (GMT-6)
I could be wrong, but I thought the RF test was not a good indicator of disease activity. I know that my insurance will not pay for my rheumy to monitor my RF--he can only measure it once a year or so (no more than that). I think if it shoots up from a baseline reading (as you suggested Dave), that can be an indication that the disease has gotten a bit more aggressive. However, it's not a good indicator of treatment success, since a lot of people have a positive RF and do not have RA (it is associated with a variety of different diseases), and even more people have a negative RF (such as you Aldo) but do, in fact, have RA. I believe the actual titer is not as important as whether it meets the cutoff or not (whether it's positive or negative).
My RF is always stubbornly positive, but very low positive (usually in the 20's). Rheumy believes it's meaningful, but exactly what it means we don't know?
Great to have you! Welcome to the club. LOL.
Just to get back to the RA nodules. RA as you know is systemic like Lupus, so nodules can appear on the hear & lungs (yours truly). I've got problems with the RA affecting the heart valves. So in all, it'll sure make heart conditions a wee bit more complex to treat & deal with.
Ugh! I haven't slept right in months! The steroids keep me up & cause shortness of breath and a rapid heart beat (just spent a week on prednisone and solumedrol shots). Terrible isn't it?
The pain med you take does have a reputation for causing headaches. I have dilaudid, Avinza (morphines) and they've been good so far, no headaches. The prednisone gives me headaches (and I'm not prone to headaches either).
And with the RA factor, it's a titer (like the chicken pox titers they test for when kids go to school)...so theoretically once it shows up most likely it will never go away. A useful tool for getting an idea about inflammatory joint diseases...but the pisser it is...it can show up in ANY of the rheumatic diseases.
Takes an artist to be a rheumatologist eh?
Take care RJ,
I sure will Dave. I received some pre-what's been wrong with me-material to fill out before Monday. Whew, this will have to be weekend homework, lol.
So sorry to hear of your Dad's condition. Is it chronic or congestive heart failure?
This is probably the most used site for practical information about all types of heart failure, treatments, diet and medication. Jon is just a guy that developed CHF early on and has learned to cope with the illness and which medicines work better with the least side affects.You know, probably like you guys have done here, and well indeed you have.
I have been retired since my mi (heart attack, don't like those words) and stroke. I have searched the net for that same time and studied heart disease. I still know nothing :)
It is very important for him to watch his water retention (edema), regardless of the type of heart failure. This usually means no salt or low salt and a powerful diueretic like Lasix. He should also be on a beta blocker that is highly recommended for heart failure and is called Coreg. It is the latest and greatest BB. It has some additional properties, as compared to other BBs, that helps the lining of the arteries. He should also take an ACE inhibitor, such as Altace. ACE =Angiotension Converting Enzyme. It lowers BP not as well, but in addition to a BB. It is a vasodilator which reduces the workload on the heart. BBs do that much better also. These are standard medicinal therapies established by the NIH and mostly adhered to by the docs. Statistics show improved longevity after diagnoses.
Lasix depletes potassium and an ACEi increases potassium. Too much or too little is very dangerous. His blood electrolytes need to be checked fairly regularly. He also needs an echocardiogram at least once per 3 months. This is a totally non-invasive test that measures all the dimentions of the heart chambers and valve condition and leakage past the valves (backward flow). This test can also show abnormalities in the aorta, heart wall motion and most importantant of all I guess, calculate his ejection fraction (EF). The EF is the overall efficiency of his heart as a pump. It is simply the amount of blood ejected from his left ventricle, with each beat. This chamber never totally empties after a beat, so a perfect EF for an athelete is around 65-70. People are said to have heart failure at around 40%. One requirement for SSDI is an EF of <30%.
Here is a site you have to join (free) and some there are a tad kooky, like meself....and others who are good with advice. I don't go there anymore. The owner of this website is also the moderator.
Then you have the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic on the net to search all the terms/conditions. Give me a holler if you need any help.