Measuring Disease Activity
Your doctor will regularly monitor your disease activity, which is the term used to refer to ongoing inflammation, symptoms, and/or joint damage. This regular and systematic monitoring is critical because information about the level of disease activity allows doctors to monitor your response to treatment and to adjust your treatment as needed.1 There are several different ways to monitor disease activity:
- Non-specific lab tests: Lab tests that measure two indicators of inflammation – the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) can be used to assess disease activity.
- DAS28 (Disease Activity Score with 28 joint counts). The DAS28 involves a count of tender and swollen joints, your own assessment of your health, and lab tests to identify inflammation.
- Vectra DA: An innovative blood test that allows doctors to test for several biological markers (or biomarkers) of rheumatoid arthritis simultaneously. The test is only used for RA and must be ordered by a physician.
Vectra DA measures the levels of 12 proteins in the blood—biomarkers that have been linked to RA disease activity—and then combines them into a single score (between 1 and 100) that classifies your current level of RA disease activity as “low”, “moderate”, or “high”. Testing with Vectra DA can provide snapshots of your disease activity at specific points in time, which can help you and your doctor to better manage your RA.
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1 National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. Handout on Health: Rheumatoid Arthritis. Last revised April 2009.