Self-reported Symptoms Can Detect Fibromyalgia in RA Patients, Study Finds

Self-reported Symptoms Can Detect Fibromyalgia in RA Patients, Study Finds
Patient-reported joint tenderness and quality of life, the subjective components of the DAS28 disease activity score, are valuable in identifying fibromyalgia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).  Based on those two factors, researchers used a score called DAS28-P to distinguish between RA patients with fibromyalgia and those with simple RA. The study, “The subjective components of the Disease Activity Score 28-joints (DAS28) in rheumatoid arthritis patients and coexisting fibromyalgia” was published in the journal Rheumatology International. Fibromyalgia is commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and is estimated to affect 10 to 20 percent of RA patients. The coexistence of fibromyalgia increases disease activity and worsens pain, mental health, and response to treatment in RA patients, according to several studies, including results from the large ESPOIR cohort of early RA patients. Fibromyalgia can cause confusion in evaluating RA disease activity scores, as patients may complain more about joint tenderness and their overall health. A study done with early RA patients suggests that Disease Activity Score 28-joints (DAS28) — a well-established tool to address disease activity in RA — may be influenced by the presence of fibromyalgia, particularly the patient-reported components of the score. DAS28 includes patient-reported counts of tender and swollen joints from a list of 28, plus laboratory measurements of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or C-reactive protein — blood markers of inflammation — and a patient-reported assessment of quality of life. Researchers conducted the study to discern the impact of fibromyalgia on the subjective components of the DAS28 and investigate whether these could be use
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