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Is it possible to stay in stage 1 RA forever?

Is it possible to stay in stage 1 RA forever? Or will the disease eventually progress for everyone?

I would like to know if there are any elderly out there (ages 70's or 80's) that are still active and without debilitating symptoms.

  1. I have a friend named Richard. He has had Type 1 Diabetes for about 72 years. He also has mild R.A. for about 30 years. He hasn't felt much pain through the years. Lucky him! A few years back, he told me that he has been experiencing more pain. Nothing like what I have been through though with severe R.A. He is in his late 70's. I am happy for him. He still exercises and does his daily walking. He is more tired, so he hasn't done much work for about 7 years. There is also moderate R.A but it is more similar pain-wise and inflammation-wise, etc. to severe R.A.

    1. Richard also worked all of his life with the mild R.A., unlike most people with severe R.A.

      1. Hi clee. Thanks for the interesting question. There are actually a couple of different elements to consider here. One concerns someone simply having a mild form of RA and staying at that stage, which could happen. A doctor could provide more information about this. Another consideration is the types of treatments or more appropriately the advancement in treatments. My wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here) was diagnosed at two and has used a wheelchair since her late teens. She has seen a lot of changes and advances in treatments during her life. In this article she writes about the evolution of treatments: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/the-evolution-of-ra-treatments/. Her doctor routinely talks about the fact that they cannot undo previous damage, but that they can try to control her RA in the present and prevent further damage. Whether or not there are those who have had RA for an extended period without progressing may not provide the best answer for you. The answer may lie in whether current treatments can prevent progression. Your doctor should be able to provide more information on how treatments can control the disease. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

        1. Thank you Richard. Is there a way to know if you have mild moderate or severe??? Or can it change at any time? Is this based only on symptoms?? I have had morning stiffness in my hands for 2.5 years before I was diagnosed. A small bump on my right pinky but not much changes.

        2. Hi clee. Glad to hear that your symptoms seem under control and not much changes. Judging stages can certainly be difficult. This article looks at understanding RA stages and progression: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/what-is-ra/stages-and-progression/. Your doctor should be able to tell you more about how your RA is evaluated in totality- symptoms, blood work, etc... Wishing you the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

      2. I started out 30 years ago really severe. Am under good control with Actemra and Mobic. Am 70. Still have some pain but even when in good control you always have damage that has been done by disease to contend with. Have had 8 hand surgeries, knee and shoulder replacement. Am Type 1 diabetic. Have fatigue and RA brain. But still do everything I can to enjoy life. I have heard some say it will just burn out after a year, but not for me. I just keep on keeping on.

        1. Thank you so much. Gives me hope.

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