Abstract: Prevention research and rheumatic disease

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2004 Mar;16(2):119-24.

Rao JK, Hootman JM.

SUMMARY: PURPOSE OF REVIEW Prevention may occur in clinical, community, or population settings and is often classified into primary, secondary, and tertiary types. To provide a context for this review, we define the three types and provide general and arthritis-specific examples of prevention strategies. Next, we highlight recently published longitudinal cohort and intervention studies that focus on arthritis prevention in the following topic areas: cognitive and behavioral strategies, obesity, exercise, and occupational injury prevention.

RECENT FINDINGS Few studies examined primary prevention strategies. In one study, an educational intervention significantly changed tick-related knowledge and behaviors among a population at risk of Lyme disease. Another population-based study used a mailed, stage-based educational program to successfully increase physical activity levels; this intervention may have practical application as a primary or tertiary prevention strategy for arthritis.

Tertiary prevention research received much attention: Recent studies extend the benefits of exercise and cognitive-behavioral interventions to persons with different rheumatic conditions (eg, neck pain, low back pain, systemic lupus erythematosus, fibromyalgia). Longitudinal cohort studies improve our understanding of the relationships between computer use and carpal tunnel syndrome among office workers, birth weight and hand osteoarthritis, and baseline balance and functional declines among older adults with knee pain.

SUMMARY Prevention of arthritis and its complications is an active focus of investigation. Primary prevention research remains a challenge because of the prolonged time frame for disease expression. Scientific evidence continues to provide support for tertiary prevention strategies among people with documented rheumatic disease.

PMID: 14770096 [PubMed – in process]

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