(HealthDay News) – For Hispanic patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), self-reported pain correlates most strongly with disability.

George A. Karpouzas, MD, from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, and colleagues investigated the determinants of disability among 251 Hispanics patients with RA from a single center. Cross-sectional factors linked with disability were identified and their impact was assessed on future disability six months later in a subgroup of 114 patients.

The researchers found that six parameters were independently associated with disability. The strongest association was seen for pain (P <0.001), followed by irreversible articular damage, disease activity, depression, age, and fibromyalgia (P <0.03 for all factors). Irreversible articular damage (P=0.004), depression, disease activity, age, and pain (all P <0.04) at baseline predicted disability six months later.

“Self-reported pain had the strongest relationship with disability; however, factors such as irreversible articular damage, depression and disease activity were more important in predicting future disability,” the authors write. “Most of these factors are amenable to targeted interventions and should be addressed in an effort to improve functional outcomes.”

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