Predicting Rheumatoid Arthritis

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birthday cheesecakeTwo new studies indicate that predicting Rheumatoid Arthritis disease activity might be within the realm of possibility. I think Rheumatoid Arthritis lives secretly within the bodies of many victims for years, like a haunting. Invisible activity in a person’s cells precedes diagnosis and many patients’ onset stories tell of years of suspicious symptoms.

New studies give hope of predicting Rheumatoid Arthritis years ahead of time

1) One new study I mentioned on Twitter last month found various isotypes of anti-CCP in blood samples of patients who eventually were diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. They found that anti-CCP antibodies are present in the blood from 1.1 to 5.9 years before joint symptoms are confirmed. “Anti-CCP2 antibodies of both the IgG and IgA isotypes pre-dated the onset of RA by several years and also, antibodies of both IgG and IgA isotypes predicted the development of RA, with the highest predictive value for IgG anti-CCP2 antibodies,” Arthritis Research and Therapy.

An older study I found on NIH (2006) had similar findings, with the anti-CCP preceding diagnosis for an average of 4.5 years. They concluded that predicting or preventing autoimmunity is a prospect “one cannot ignore.”

2) “Early changes in bone mineral density measured by digital X-ray radiogrammetry predict up to 20 years radiological outcome in rheumatoid arthritis,” Arthritis Research and Therapy. Researchers found change in bone mineral density of the hand predicted future joint damage by Rheumatoid Arthritis.

So what if Rheumatoid Arthritis can be predicted organically?

Someday we’ll be able to predict Rheumatoid Arthritis so that harsh symptoms and dangerous manifestations of RA can be prevented. But what does that mean to us now?

  • It means it should not take years to diagnose RA or months be referred to a rheumatologist. If every GP knew about the anti-CCP test and was willing to use it, how much of a difference would that make?
  • It means that the injuries and traumas that seemed to push some of our immune systems over the edge into full-blown disease may be less significant as culprits than we think. The disease may very well have been simmering for years until an inevitable moment.
  • It means that the rare sliver of cheesecake I had at the end of the evening on my birthday was not the cause of the horrible pain in every single joint that I had all day that day. And it probably had nothing to do with the pain of every day for the last five years either.
  • So much for so many myths on our parents’ wanting of us, hypochondriasis, or laziness as the basis for RA.

Recommended reading:

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 at 6:00 am and is filed under RA Education, Reality Check. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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