According to new research, people who are afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are better off now than they were twenty years ago. The research numbers show that in 2011 about half as many people with RA were considered disabled four years after being diagnosed, as compared to patients in 1990. This marks a success in arthritis education and treatment that should continue to give hope to those battling the disease.
The research specifically looked at patients that have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that often targets the joint cartilage and material of the smaller areas of the body, such as the hands and feet. This condition occurs when the body attacks and breaks down its own components, compared with other forms of arthritis that are caused by gradual wear and tear.
Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can occur even at a young age, and for no particular reason. A person can go from leading a normal life, to very quickly struggling through the pain and symptoms of RA on a daily basis. It is a daunting diagnosis, and until the last decade, has been somewhat limited in terms of treatment and relief.
Two decades ago, more than half of the people diagnosed with RA were considered disabled just four years later. Research now shows that the number has been reduced to about one-quarter. No particular treatments were examined, rather, the patients were evaluated in terms of mental and physical capacity. The researchers believe the improvements are due to more advanced, effective treatments, coupled with the push to diagnose and treat the condition in its early stages.
We’re on the right path to better understanding the condition and developing effective treatment regimens. Awareness and education is a big part of the process, as understanding what you may be facing can help formulate a plan of attack before the condition worsens.
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