I had been thinking about writing about the frustration many patients with rheumatoid arthritis have.
Often, their symptoms are not taken seriously.
Commonly, there is a delay to diagnosis, and even after the diagnosis is made, the treatment is often substandard and not up-to-date.
The management and treatment of this potentially crippling disease has evolved greatly over the last decade. As rheumatologists, we now have more specific blood tests (such as anti-CCP), we have better imaging techniques to help diagnosis (MRI and Power Doppler Ultrasound), and we have more targeted and effective medications (such as the TNF-alpha inhibitors).
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often battle ignorance and indifference. Their medical journey involves suffering, both physical and emotional.
Ailsa Bosworth is the chief executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (UK). She was about 30 years old when she was diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. Her journey with the disease is recounted poignantly in this issue of the British Medical Journal.
Her story is much more powerful than anything I can write. I urge you to read it.
Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. BJC Health provides coordinated, comprehensive, and colocated multidisciplinary care to achieve effective solutions for patients. We call this model of care, Connected Care. Our clinics are located in Parramatta, Chatswood and Brookvale. Contact us.
This blog focuses on musculoskeletal disease, healthcare in general, and our Connected Care philosophy. Read More.