Rheumatoid Arthritis Prognosis

Rheumatoid arthritis prognosis is compromised if there is a delay in the diagnosis and proper treatment. The prognosis is either exacerbation or remission. It varies highly from person to person. However, it is generally observed that nearly 40% patients with rheumatoid arthritis are disabled after 10 years. Some patients show a comparatively self-limited disease, while others show a chronic progressive disease.

An unfavourable prognosis is correlated with signs like high serum titer of autoantibodies, such as, RF and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP), an increased number of affected joints, extra-articular manifestations, female sex, age younger than 30 and systemic symptoms. This unfavourable prognosis is in terms of joint damage and disability. One more unfavourable sign is insidious onset.

Much worsened prognosis of rheumatoid arthritis is seen in patients with positive RF (Rheumatoid Factor) results. However, the absence of RF does not always indicate a good prognosis.

Other laboratory test findings indicating a poor prognosis are early radiological evidence of bone injury, high levels of C1q component of complement, persistent anemia of chronic disease and the presence of anti-CCP antibodies.

If the disease remains persistent for more than 1 year, it is likely to cause joint deformities and disability. Whereas if the symptoms last for a few weeks or months, followed by remission, better prognosis is indicated.

General mortality rate in RA patients is 2.5 times more than that in common population. Much of this increased mortality results from infection, poor nutrition and vasculitis. RA is also related to cardiovascular risk factors.

Rheumatoid arthritis prognosis, along with other factors, is based more importantly on how prominent the disease is currently, i.e. if it is in a flare, a remission or can it be managed well with treatment.

Nearly 10 to 20% of the patients show sudden onset of the disease, which is followed by a long period of no symptoms. This is called a prolonged remission.

Some patients of RA show coming and going symptoms, occurring between flares, which can last for months and are referred to as intermittent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Majority of the patients have chronic, progressive type of RA and need long-term medical treatment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Prognosis It is better to assess and reassess all the influencing factors and get the tests, like x-rays and other laboratory tests, done and see if physical results have improved.

If it is evident from the tests that the disease is very active, the doctor may need to change the course of treatment for a more aggressive one so as to slow down or stop the disease progression. Biologic, combined with traditional, DMARDs have been proven to be very effective in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis prognosis regarding the daily activities can be monitored by taking HAQ, i.e. Health Assessment Questionnaire, periodically, which helps you to determine whether your functions are improving or deteriorating and if they are deteriorating, your doctor needs to change to better treatment options.