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Arthritis Treatment: The Costs Of Not Treating Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms Aggressively

Rheumatism (RA) is regarded as the common inflammatory type of arthritis, affecting greater than 2 million Americans. This is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that causes systemic problems, meaning it can affect internal organs, including the lungs, heart, bone marrow, and eye. It's also an important risk factor to add mass to cardiovascular complications such as stroke and cardiac event.

Added to these concerns may be the significant problem with rheumatoid arthritis which is that if unattended aggressively, it can lead to irreversible joint damage, chronic pain, and functional disability.

arthritis foundation

Nevertheless there is still no remedy for the disease yet, RA may be treatable as well as put into remission if diagnosed early and given urgency.

While many from the new medicines which were coded in recent times are effective, there is still no consensus which one to use first, which to use second, when you should switch drugs, just when was the best time for you to discontinue one drug and begin another, and so on.

Perhaps, over time we are in a position to individualize treatment programs. Progress in the field of exactly what are called "biomarkers"- tissue evidence which will provide us with a unique profile of any given patient- is going to take us to another level of treatment.

A bright spot may be the continued development of newer therapies with different modes of action that will allow more choices, fewer side effects, and more convenience.

Nonetheless, what exactly is clear right now is that delaying medicine leads to functional decline that is difficult, otherwise impossible, to reverse.

This loss of physical function leads to reduced productivity and increased healthcare costs.

arthritis foundation

A number of research has viewed various treatment options and shown a mixture of methotrexate, the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) of choice along with a biologic drug creates a significantly greater chance of improvement and less probability of unemployability.

Another study has revealed that length of time of disease and degree of functional impairment correlate with higher medical costs and greater disability.

Plus an additional study by Maetzel and colleagues revealed that RA costs also seem to be more than that as a result of other common health conditions including osteoarthritis and hypertension (Maetzel A, et al. Ann Rheum Dis 2004; 63: 395-401).

The main hurdle today becomes patients with early RA to a rheumatologist early and achieving the rheumatologist initiate aggressive treatment as soon as possible. More about this in future articles.

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