Rheumatology Update

Washington, DC—What does the future of rheumatology specialists look like in the United States? By 2030, there will be an approximately 140% projected increase in demand coupled with a 31% decrease in adult rheumatologists, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)’s 2015 Workforce Study. The last ACR Workforce Study was conducted in 2005.
According to a recently published analysis of 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, approximately 1 in 4 adults is currently living with physician-diagnosed arthritis in the United States. A primary cause for disability that affects approximately 52.5 million US adults, arthritis is expected to affect 78.4 million adults in 2040.
Providing treatment options for patients with rheumatoid arthritis is paramount to treating the disease. Although existing therapies have been effective, treatment response is still a concern in this patient population.
In the United States, arthritis is a leading cause of disability, a common cause of chronic pain, and affects more than 1 in every 5 American adults. May is National Arthritis Awareness month, and rheumatologists, nurses, and other healthcare providers should take the opportunity of this campaign by helping their patients understand their condition, learn facts about arthritis, and gain access to relevant resources.
Treatment of complex chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, has led to the development of novel therapeutic drugs.1 However, these specialty medications come at a cost to the patient, and recent data indicate that higher cost-sharing is associated with reductions in the use of these drugs.
A single fracture of any proximal bone increases the risk of premature death, according to an observational study reported at the 2015 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.
Ultrasound (US) was of no added value in determining remission in a randomized study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who were managed with a treat-to-target (T2T) strategy, suggesting that it can be safely omitted for serial monitoring to assess remission. There was no difference in the probability of achieving sustained clinical remission and stopping radiographic progression between a strategy employing US and a conventional strategy (CS) based on clinical and labora­tory assessments alone.
The immune system of pregnant women becomes altered to tolerate fetal antigens while still being able to fight infections, and these immunomodulatory consequences influence autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA) routinely need joint pain relief, and joint replacement surgery is often required for those with severe disease; however, there are no effective strategies for preventing disease progression.
The rates of total knee replacement (TKR) continue to rise in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Studies done in previous years suggested that TKR was less successful in improving function in patients with RA than in those with OA. The good news is that a new study finds similar and excellent outcomes for TKR in RA compared with OA in the contemporary era.
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