One doctor shares his approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Over the past 10 years, the prospects for the tens of thousands with the misfortune to be afflicted by the potentially crippling disorder of rheumatoid arthritis have improved dramatically.
The cardinal symptoms of swollen painful joints with the progressive destruction of bone and cartilage is serious enough, but the inflammatory process may also affect the functioning of the heart, lungs and blood vessels – resulting in a substantially increased risk of “all-cause mortality”, almost half as high again as it should be.
But over the past decade, between 2007 and 2014, that risk has fallen substantially, and is now only marginally higher than for the general population.
This astonishing, unprecedented improvement in life expectancy is obviously a marker that management of the illness has become vastly more effective.
How so? New, if very costly drugs have certainly been a contributory factor, but it is mainly attributable to a radical reevaluation of the “philosophy” of treatment, and what it might reasonably be expected to receive.
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