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Rheumatoid arthritis patients missing vital test

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Vital tests that track the progress of rheumatoid arthritis have not been offered to thousands of patients suffering from the condition, it has been claimed.

One in ten sufferers have not had their disease activity score (DAS) measured despite regular visits to hospital, the survey revealed.

DAS, which helps doctors to make important decisions about future treatment, examines the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and monitors how well the disease is being controlled.

The assessment should be carried out at least twice each year according to the latest guidelines issued by NICE.

RA, an immune disease that attacks the joints and causes long-term disability, affects around 487,000 people in the UK.

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) has launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of DAS following the results of its survey.

It also found that 90% of RA sufferers do not know their DAS score and 20% are unsure if they had undergone the examination.

Chief executive of the NRAS, Alisa Bosworth, said: ‘Many people know about the importance of measuring their cholesterol level, and people with diabetes know about their glucose levels. People with RA should know about their DAS.’

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