What Is My Long Term Prognosis?

Question

Asked by Jamie

What Is My Long Term Prognosis?

I am 44 and newly diagnosed with seronegative RA. What prognostic factors are used to determine the severity and future outcome of the disease for me? My Dr. just told me he has a "gut" feeling my disease will not be erosive. I don't want a gut feeling, I want clinical data.

Answer

First of all, your doctor is an idiot. Sorry, was that out loud?

I believe what your doctor meant to say is that it's impossible to tell. As far as I know, there is no way of predicting how severe your RA will be - of course, I am not a doctor and not up on the latest research, so it's quite possible that I don't know what I'm talking about. As well, it's possible that once you've been a rheumatologist for long enough, you may start recognizing subtle signs that indicate mild to moderate RA or moderate to severe, but if that's the case, he should've rephrased it.. However, I can tell you that the prognosis these days is vastly different from what it was even 10 years ago, where it was fairly certain that things would get pretty bad over time. The Biologics have completely changed the RA landscape to such a degree that we don't really know what the prognosis will be, only that it is much better than what it was. In that sense, you're lucky to get RA now - yes, I know, not a big comfort - because it's quite likely that you will be able to live a fairly normal life with minimal damage to your joints for a very long time.

Answered by Lene Andersen, MSW