Diseases For Patient Education Diseases For Patient Education Children do get arthritis too. There are new treatments for RA which can stop disease progression. Process of permanent joint damage can set in as early as 12 weeks from onset of symptoms in RA. Early treatment prevents joint damage. Having RA increases risk of heart attack and stroke. Patients do not get any symptoms from osteoporosis until they fracture a bone. In the early stages of arthritis blood tests and joint examination can be normal. Ultrasound scan is 7 times more sensitive than plain X-ray in identifying the arthritis changes.