Indexed on: 01 Mar '95Published on: 01 Mar '95Published in: Clinical Rheumatology
As part of an international European research project, a longitudinal study was started by the end of 1990 in the northern part of The Netherlands. The study concentrated on recently diagnosed RA patients (N=292), i.e., incident cases up to four years. According to the duration of the disease, five groups of patients had been formed. The early influence of rheumatoid arthritis on medical parameters, on functional status, on physical condition and on psychological well-being was evaluated. From the results, an overall statistically significant pattern related to the duration of the disease could not be distingiushed. However, patients recently diagnosed did face activity restrictions, a decline in physical condition and social functioning. On medical parameters this deterioration is less profound. Furthermore, across and within the five patient groups, it seems that males and females respond differently to the influence of early RA. Based on cross-sectional data from the five onset cohorts, the present findings do not significantly suggest a steady worsening in medical, physical and psychological condition.