Here’s my monthly summary of recent news on arthritis related issues. It’s by no means complete but gives a good overview on current research and developments. If you feel something needs to be added, please let me know
1. Creaky Joints (a US non-profit organisation co-founded by an arthritis patient) published “A Patient’s Guide to Living with Osteoarthritis” (download free here). Their press release states “This volume is the first ever to be developed by and for patients, and reviewed by rheumatologists, specifically for use by people living with osteoarthritis and their caregivers.”
The guide is meant to help educate patients so that they can better manage their illness and communicate treatment preferences. It’s a very comprehensive document that includes advice on diet and supplements as well as treatment options. Definitely worth a read for anyone with osteoarthritis!
2. MedPage Today reports that the annual cost for direct medical care for rheumatoid arthritis patients currently amounts to $12,500 per patient. The authors of this analysis predict costs to rise as more patients start on expensive biologic DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs). Just looking at patients on biologic DMARDs, the annual cost lies between $26,000 and $59,000 per year, which is double or more compared to the cost of other chronic diseases.
Indirect cost of RA like loss of work, out-of-pocket payments for alternative treatments and supplements, caregiver cost etc were not considered in this review.
3. An analysis of Medicare claims data indicates that rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher cardiac and infection risk. MedScape does not mention if infection risk is due to higher inflammatory markers or immunosuppressant medication.
Dr. Jonathan Graf, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, states “these results prove the hypotheses that inflammation drives cardiac disease.”
4. RheumatoidArthritis.net gives good advice on how to combat morning stiffness from their RA community. There is quite a range of tips, from stretching to heat to alternative therapies. Great read!
5. Rheumatologist Dr Jonathan Kay finds that rheumatologists should avoid opioids to treat arthritis and rather focus on biologic DMARDs and treating underlying diseases. While this seems like sound advice, I am surprised he doesn’t mention cannabis as an alternative pain relief.