TheRAConnection recently completed a survey in 100 patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis to evaluate patient awareness and identify concerns around the management of their condition.
Question: Does your doctor routinely perform a disease activity score (DAS) to track your symptoms and response to treatment?
Interestingly only 55% of respondents stated that their physician routinely performed a DAS during their visits.
A DAS measures ongoing inflammation, symptoms, and/or joint damage. Regular and systematic monitoring of disease activity is critical to managing RA, PsA and AS and is recommended. Information about the level of disease activity allows doctors to monitor response to treatment and to adjust treatment as needed.
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.
It is possible that some survey respondents might be unaware that their doctor is assessing disease activity on a regular basis.
Research Results on DAS That Might be Helpful