Hand Swelling in RA

No one knows how you’re feeling better than you, but do your symptoms actually correlate to objective measures of disease activity? A new study points to yes.

In the study, which was published in the journal Rheumatology, researchers followed 80 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients for one year. At the beginning of the study, all participants were either in remission or had low levels of disease activity (DAS28-CRP <3.2). Throughout the year, 36 percent of patients reported a hand flare — and clinical exams and ultrasounds confirmed that what the patients were sensing was accurately reflecting what was happening inside their bodies.

“Self-reported flares were associated with increased disease activity as determined by clinical examination and [ultrasound],” the authors wrote. “Patient-reported joint assessment may aid in capturing flares between routine clinical visits.”

In other words, don’t wait until your next scheduled checkup to reach out to your doctor if you suspect that you’re flaring.

One way to keep tabs on your symptoms — and contribute to arthritis research — is to use CreakyJoints’ ArthritisPower research registry. This free tool, accessible via computer or smartphone app, makes it easy to track your symptoms, disease activity, and medications — and share with your doctor. You can also participate in voluntary research studies about arthritis. Learn more and sign up here.

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