How Can Autoimmune Arthritis Diagnosis Be Improved?

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Why Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis must be improved

RA Diagnosis Carnival postWe have over 60 Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis stories here on Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior. In some ways they’re all unique, but there are common threads. One familiar theme is that Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis is often difficult or protracted or confusing. This is not only true for Rheumatoid Arthritis, but for other autoimmune arthritis diseases such as Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and of course, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis / Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

I’ve been thinking about what might be done to improve diagnosis and reduce the time it takes. Then I remembered that back in 2009, I wrote an article for the Rheumatology section of Healthcare Professionals Live, Early Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis Is an Elusive Goal. I especially wrote it for physicians to appeal to them to consider that early aggressive treatment so often touted is not even possible without early diagnosis.

I ended the article with suggestions for earlier Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis

  • GPs could be better informed of common symptoms of early RA.
  • Doctors could be strongly encouraged to add anti-CCP tests to their screening of suspected RA.
  • More doctors could take advantage of the internet to learn about what RA looks like via RA blogs, forums, etc.
  • When examining a patient with dubious symptoms, doctors should follow the golden rule of medicine: treat this patient the way you would want your mother treated.
  • A campaign for general awareness of RA ought to educate the public about the symptoms of RA and the serious nature of the disease.

What do you think doctors or patients could do? Are there any specific ways we could implement these ideas or other ways to improve diagnosis or shorten the time it takes? Please comment if you have ideas.

Improving Autoimmune Arthritis Diagnosis Blog Carnival

If you have a blog and would like to write a post on this topic to be included in the next Blog Carnival, send the link of that post to me at kelly@rawarrior.com. Please put “blog carnival” in the subject line of the email. I plan to post the next blog carnival next Monday January 10, 2011.

What could be done to reduce the time that it takes for a diagnosis? Please feel free to include any details from your own story, whether it was a long or short diagnosis period.

Note: Our first Rheum Blog Carnival was great fun. If you missed it, click here to read and find all 13 participating blogs. Rheumatology Blog Carnival #1: Causes of Rheum Un-Awareness

Recommended reading:

NOTE: Your comments are an important resource for future readers of this post in the months to come. Please find the comment link below each post.

Click here to read all the comments or add yours!

Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011 at 6:00 am and is filed under RA Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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