17:24 PM

A Multicultural Guide to Managing RA

HealthCentral discusses the diverse experiences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) based on race, ethnicity, and culture with experts including Susan M. Goodman, MD, rheumatologist at HSS.

Dr. Goodman explained the gap between white patients and people of color doesn’t close at diagnosis. “The racial and sociodemographic differences in the time to initiate therapy are significant,” she said.

According to Dr. Goodman, some studies show that patients of color live with rheumatoid arthritis for six to seven years before they receive the most effective medications, known as DMARDs or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Meanwhile, white people with RA may get these drugs within a year of diagnosis.

She continued, “While aggressive treatment is the standard and optimal care for rheumatoid arthritis, Blacks are less likely to be on aggressive therapy. While 51% of white patients go on aggressive therapy, only 16% of Black patients do.”

These treatment differences are regardless of pain and disease severity, she added.

“In a time period in which all RA patients are achieving better outcomes, the improvements for Black patients continue to lag behind those of white patients,” noted Dr. Goodman.

Read the full article at Healthcentral.com.