A significant amount of joint damage can occur during the first two years of rheumatoid disease activity. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly affect a patient’s prognosis. However, diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis can be very challenging, because:
- There is no single physical exam or lab test to decisively diagnose rheumatoid arthritis
- RA symptoms often mimic those of other diseases, such as lupus, systemic sclerosis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Reducing the risk of negative long-term outcomes with rheumatoid arthritis
The early detection of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in patients is important to reduce the risk for negative long-term outcomes. A recent study suggests that using a risk score based on clinical characteristics, serologic findings, and imaging testing could assist physicians in identifying antibody-positive patients who are likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
Identifying patients at this early phase should produce the best clinical outcome. Early diagnosis and treatment may also permit the possibility of preventive therapy.
A recent panel discussion from The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) focused on the importance of early diagnosis in RA management and treatment.
The panel said that early diagnosis is key to getting patients with RA started on disease modifying therapy. A risk test can assist physicians in finding the early symptoms of RA. When diagnosed the patient will be referred to a rheumatologist.
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of arthritis is the first step toward successful treatment. To diagnose arthritis, your doctor will consider your symptoms, perform a physical exam to check for swollen joints or loss of motion. They will use a blood tests and X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.
X-rays and blood tests also help distinguish the type of arthritis you have. For example, most people with rheumatoid arthritis have antibodies called rheumatoid factors (RF) in their blood, although RF may also be present in other disorders.
For more information about the American Journal of Medical Care folow this link: https://www.ajmc.com
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