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WebMD Article: Preventing Joing Damage (Need some clarification)
lcover posted:
There is a WebMD article called Preventing Joint Damage From Rheumatoid Arthritis. The article mentions three things that I was hoping to get clarification on.

1. It says "You can also have low levels of disease activity that come and go without your feeling any symptoms." I'm assuming this is prior to getting treatment. Can this happen while taking biologic meds?

2. It also says "This is called degenerative disease, and it is similar to what happens in "regular" or "wear and tear" arthritis (osteoarthritis ) -- only it happens faster in people with rheumatoid arthritis." I'm looking for clarification on the last sentence. Can OA happen faster with people who have RA?

3. Under treatment it states "Get treated early. Much of the joint damage that eventually becomes serious starts soon after rheumatoid arthritis is discovered. " Why is this?

I appreciate any information.


Scott Zashin, MD responded:
Early diagosis of RA and treatment can help prevent damage, deformity and disability. Damage may occur as early as 6-12 months. Patients with RA due to chronic inflamamation are more likely to get secondary OA. This does not happen quickly and occurs over years.Finally, patients on biologics can get joint damage without symptoms if they have peristent joint swelling.I don't worry about this if I I have a patient on a biologic who has no pain or swelling and has a normal ESR and CRP. (blood tests for inflammation)

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