Disability from RA is Highly Associated with Disease Activity

August 19, 2010

The standard DAS 28 score is the factor most strongly affecting the level of rheumatoid arthritis-related disability, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

The standard DAS 28 score is the factor most strongly affecting the level of rheumatoid arthritis-related disability, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

A study performed by Dr. E.E. Schneeberger, of Instituto de Rehabilitacion Psicofisica, Buenos Aires, focused on examining the correlation between bone damage related to RA that causes disability and disease activity.

The researchers used a standard questionnaire that assessed functional ability in key areas like walking, bathing, and self care. The study involved 640 patients with rheumatic arthritis, of which 85% were women, the average age was 53, and RA had been present for an average of eight years.

The team used DAS 28 scores to assess the level of RA disease activity and X-rays were used to evaluate RA damage to the bones of the hands and feet.

They found that patients with a higher overall level of disease activity as reflected by the DAS 28 score had greater disability from RA and disability was increased for patients with more morning stiffness as well as those who had had RA for a longer time. Increased disability was also linked to older aged patients whose Xrays showed increased bone damage.

While bone damage became a significant contributor to disability for patients that had had RA for a long time, it did not surpass the impact of the disease.

The researchers also found that one factor was linked to lower disability in RA. Those treated with DMARDs was linked to lower disability in RA.