By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist
This paper was brought to my attention this weekend.
It's from the Lancet and was published in 1987.
I draw your attention to these results:
- By 20 years 35% were dead. Mortality was often attributable to RA.
- Function declined considerably between 10 and 20 years.
- At 20 years 19% were severely disabled.
The weapons they had available in the fight against rheumatoid arthritis - "gold, chloroquine, steroids, and, in resistant cases, penicillamine or cytotoxic drugs."
Rheumatoid arthritis is a bad disease and it's not surprising that in 1987, part of the conclusion was that:
The concept of "remission-inducing" drugs is fallacious.
That's no longer true.
I'm glad things have changed in a big way since the 80s. The knowledge of the disease, the weapons used against it, the strategies we use.
Rheumatoid arthritis can still be a bad disease, but with prompt intervention and the use of appropriate medications, the outcomes are now so much better for us physicians and for our patients.Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here. Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.