A Paradigm Shift in Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity? Part 1

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low grade fever RA

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis disease activity?

People living with RA know it can affect them in unexpected ways that don’t involve joints. Just reading recent comments here, you can see people talking about these effects of RA:

  • Drastic weight loss
  • Frequent low-grade fevers
  • Ruined teeth from dry mouth or autoimmune activity
  • Heart or lung damage
  • Depression
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Various eye problems

Speaking strictly of JOINTS

But even if we speak of joints ONLY, there’s a wide variety of symptoms. If joint exams are done, they are often done in the same ways, documenting only certain manifestations of the disease:

  • Significant swelling
  • Obvious deformity
  • Erosion of bone in joints

But patients describe JOINTS with

  • Sudden weakness
  • Enlargement of bones at joints
  • Tightness of skin attributable to swelling
  • Gradual drifting, twisting, or deforming
  • Inability to do usual tasks
  • Uncharacteristic grinding, clicking, popping noises
  • Pain from mild to severe
  • Acute stiffness
  • Sensations of pulling
  • Sudden locking or spasms
  • Swelling from mild to severe

Need for paradigm shift with Rheumatoid Arthritis disease activity

As much as we talk about what’s going on in cells with Rheumatoid Arthritis activity, these lists provide simple evidence of disease activity as patients experience it. However, these symptoms are not typically used to evaluate RA disease activity.

In Part 2, we’ll look at a possible paradigm shift in the way Rheumatoid Arthritis disease activity is viewed. PLEASE STAY TUNED for Part 2!

Meanwhile, please post what RA disease activity means to you!

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 6:00 am and is filed under The Real Rheumatoid Disease. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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