Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune arthritis that affects 1% of the adult population; women three times more commonly than men. It can occur at any age, but most often between the ages of 40 – 50. Usually RA involves joints of hands and feet, but other joints can also be affected. The diagnosis of RA is based on symptoms and signs of joint inflammation (joint swelling and early morning stiffness lasting more than 30 minutes) with supporting blood tests and X-rays
Treatment begins as soon a possible after the onset of symptoms to treat inflammation. Treatments include a combination of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). As well as medicine, patients will access to the multi-disciplinary team, which includes physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy and clinical nurse specialist to help manage symptoms.