Joint replacement with rheumatoid arthritis
People of color receive joint replacement surgeries two-thirds less often than caucasian patients. In this video, learn more about the discrepancy.
Hi, Dr. Ortiz. As a woman of color, I'm wondering, is there anything I need to know about joint replacement
due to my rheumatoid arthritis? [MUSIC PLAYING]
Thanks so much for asking. That's a great question. Let's just get into it. Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
can sometimes require surgery if nonsurgical treatment has been ineffective. Over the last 30 years, joint replacement surgery
has become one of the safest and most reliable procedures done in the United States. There are approximately 750,000 knee replacements and over
450,000 hip replacement surgeries done annually in the US. However, studies have shown that people of color
receive joint replacements 2/3 less often than white people. A variety of factors may be the cause of this discrepancy, one
being patient preference. People of color are generally more hesitant to choose a surgery as a form of treatment
due to concerns of surgery outcome and a lack of knowledge surrounding the procedure and its potential recovery time.
In addition, joint replacement surgery can often be inaccessible for people of color. Lack of insurance is one reason people of color
may not be able to access proper treatment. Other factors include socioeconomic constraints, geographic limitations, and fewer orthopedic surgeons
in minority communities. Nonsurgical treatments are usually considered before surgery. However, there are also discrepancies
in that area as well. Research shows that Black patients are more likely to be prescribed steroids instead of biologics.
Biologics are advanced targeted therapies that can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. While steroids can also treat rheumatoid arthritis,
there can be long-term side effects like high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. By improving patient provider communication,
providing access to joint replacement information, proper post-op care, and acknowledging disparities in health care, we can better assist people of color,
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