Importance of early treatment

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Why is the early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis so important?

Importance Of Early Treatment

Dr. Samuel Whittle
Rheumatologist, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide

If people are experiencing these symptoms and have ongoing joint pain accompanied by early morning stiffness, and often other symptoms such as tiredness or fatigue or generally feeling off-colour. Or if they notice any swelling in their joints, then it’s really important that they do go and see their GP at that stage to discuss what that could mean. There’s a number of different conditions that can cause those sorts of symptoms. Not all of them are diseases like rheumatoid arthritis but because rheumatoid arthritis responds best when it’s diagnosed early and because it requires a specialist to help make the diagnosis; it’s really important that people see their GP early on if they are having those symptoms and then make a decision along with their GP about whether they need to see a specialist at that time as well.

Dr. Irwin Lim

Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease because it is a form of arthritis that actually leads to deformity and destruction of the joints. With deformity and destruction of the joints it leads to loss of function and loss of the ability to do things that we all take for granted in life. There is a window of opportunity in this disease. This window of opportunity refers to the fact that if we actually start treating patients early in the disease, typically within six months or a year, and if we can control the disease well, patients then end up doing so much better down the track.

Dr. Marina Kang
General Practitioner

For rheumatoid arthritis, we need to help patients to see that pain and swelling in the joint is not just part of aging so a young person who has a pain and swelling in their joint that is unexplained needs to come to talk to a general practitioner about these symptoms. Because some people think that it’s just an inconsequential thing so we want to get people to come and talk to us early about their discomfort in their joints, the stiffness in the morning with their joints and rheumatoid arthritis.

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