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Preventing Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Global Challenge

  • Jessica Widdifield
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Jessica Widdifield, PhD, 2075 Bayview Avenue MG 352, Toronto ON, M4N 3M5, Canada.
    Affiliations
    Sunnybrook Research Institute, Holland Bone & Joint Research Program, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    ICES, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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      Abstract

      Significant advancements have been made in the discovery of gene signatures, biomarkers, novel therapeutic targets, diagnostic tools, and risk factors that predict the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There is also overwhelming evidence that treatment of early RA can prevent or alter disease progression and potentially lead to drug-free remission. Despite these advancements, there are significant challenges to identifying patients at risk of developing RA on a global scale. This commentary provides an overview of challenges related to the primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of RA in the context of health care systems. Patient-level, provider-level, and health care system–level barriers to implementing prevention strategies are discussed. Strategies and opportunities to address these challenges, on both a local and global scale, are reported. Benefits as well as potential negative consequences that may be associated with implementation of prevention strategies for RA are discussed in the context of individuals and public health.

      Key Words

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