Washington: When it comes to deadly and disabling diseases, most media appear to pay attention to conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer`s.But Mayo Clinic researchers say there are others that take a similarly high toll, and rheumatoid arthritis is one of them.Itis a common cause of disability: 1 of every 5 rheumatoid arthritis patients is unable to work two years after diagnosis, and within five years, that rises to one-third. Life expectancy drops by up to five years, they said.Rheumatoid arthritis patients also have a 50 percent higher risk of heart attack and twice the danger of heart failure, they pointed out.Much progress has been made in recognizing the importance of early diagnosis and prompt and aggressive treatment, but gaps in understanding of the disease remain, according to study authors, Mayo Clinic rheumatologists John Davis III, M.D., and Eric Matteson, M.D.“There are many drug therapies available now for management of rheumatoid arthritis, but the challenge for patients and their physicians is to decide on the best approach for initial management and then subsequent treatment modification based on the response,” said Dr. Davis.“In our article, we reveal our approach including algorithms for managing the disease that we believe will enhance the probability that patients will achieve remission, improved physical function, and optimal quality of life,” he noted.
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