Dr. Samuel Whittle Rheumatologist, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide
There are several secrets to achieving really effective therapy in inflammatory diseases such as these. Probably the most important thing is an early diagnosis and early effective treatment. We know that for any inflammatory disease that getting control of the inflammation as thoroughly and as quickly as possible is the best possible way to restore people back to normal function and to ultimately prevent damage to the joints. But there is a lot of other things that people can do to maximise their chances of a good outcome. Probably the most important thing we recognise now is to avoid smoking. Smoking increases the risk of all inflammatory rheumatic diseases, it reduces the chances of a good response to therapy, and it probably makes the disease worse overall. Also, smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and we know that in the long term people with inflammatory disease are at risk for cardiovascular disease so stopping smoking in those who are current smokers is really important.
Assoc. Professor Peter Youssef Rheumatologist, Royal Prince Alfred Institute of Rheumatology and Orthopaedics, Sydney Chair – Arthritis Australia Scientific Advisory Committee
The secrets of successful treatment are diagnosing early and treating early. It’s also important to aim for complete remission. By aiming for complete remission, damage is prevented, and function is maintained, people are kept at work, and cardiovascular disease is reduced in the longer term.