A new study has emerged proving that early and methodical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can prevent joint degradation and disability years later. According to researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, the findings show that doctors should not be discouraging patients from delaying treatment for arthritic symptoms.
The issue with arthritis treatment lies with people who are often unwilling to accept that they are truly afflicted with the disease until symptoms become severe. At this point, inflammation has existed long enough to instill permanent damage upon joint material. Since RA is difficult to diagnose due to lack of accurate testing methods, most people won’t accept the possibility that they may have developed the condition.
They study examined 833 patients facing the early stages of RA. After six months, the patients were reevaluated, classified as whether the disease was deemed being less or more active than before. 56% of patients with lower activity of disease were less likely to incur joint damage and degradation during the following two years, at which point they were examined again.
From these results, the researchers have determined that there is a window of opportunity in which patients must utilize rapid, and effective treatment in order to stave off future permanent joint damage. They have concluded that the typical window for effective treatment is after the first three months that initial joint inflammation occurs.
While this research is still considered preliminary, it goes to show that rapid diagnosis and development of an adequate treatment regimen is always beneficial in terms of controlling any health condition in the long run. There are a variety of treatment methods for arthritis, and each has a certain degree of efficacy. If you believe you may have developed joint inflammation, speak with your physician and make your concerns known. It may end up saving you a great deal of pain down the line.
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