We’re so fortunate to have readers who make such amazing contributions. That’s what makes us more of a community than just a website. Isn’t it great the amount of information and encouragement readers provide each other – and me – even by commenting?!
This week we reached an extraordinary milestone on our Facebook page. Our membership there reached 10,000. I realize that a large percentage of our readers aren’t on Facebook, but I hope they won’t mind our celebrating!
Today, I want to share a story sent in by Canadian reader MomB about a newspaper article on Rheumatoid Arthritis that got her going. Thanks, MomB.
A readers’ take on Rheumatoid Arthritis in the newspaper
I’ve read with interest the stories of the newly diagnosed; they reflect my own story in so many ways. We are all in the same boat.
It was interesting to find an RA item in our local newspaper. It scared me, made me mad, and made me feel sorry for the people that can’t get treatment. It also gave a tiny little bit of hope that some focus might be given to RA. I actually made me want to give this guy a hug at one moment.
Worried me: The University and the pharmaceutical company working together.
Made me mad: “Yet there are only 350 rheumatologists in Canada to serve the aging population.” I am mad because this (once again!) implies that RA is an old person’s disease.
Made me feel sorry: There are only 350 rheumatologists in the whole country, a population of almost 34 million people. Let’s we do the math (thought that doesn’t tell the whole story). The article says between 1 and 3 percent are afflicted; we’ll use two to be fair and hope my calculator helps me with the math.
That means 680,000 people are currently diagnosed with RA. Okay, let’s divvy those up between 350 rheumatologists… By my math, that gives them 1943 patients a piece.
Let’s take working days in to account. Take off the weekends and the likely 8 weeks of vacation and the public holidays essentially taking 150 days out of the year. That leaves 215 days that the rheumatologists can deal with patients. Well, not really because there are the seminar days and the days they are teaching; but let’s use that number. That means they see 11 patients per day on a consistent basis. Unfortunately that is not true because people who live in the northern part of our provinces have NO rheumatologists there. They have to either travel to another city or accept band-aid solutions from their GPs.
(Note from Kelly: I’m not sure how many times per year RA patients are seen in Canada, but it sounds difficult.)
Here’s a little bit of hope: They are focusing on educating the primary care providers so that they can recognize the symptoms earlier and get people referred for early treatment.
And my need to hug him: “With a very quick screening tool they can pick up early inflammatory arthritis and get those patients the treatment they need rather than saying, ‘Oh it’s just arthritis.’”
- Thanks, MomB! Great analysis.
- If you have a blog – any kind – we’d love to add your voice & link to our upcoming blog carnival about pain relief.
- Remember to complete the RPF RA Patient Survey, if you haven’t done that yet! And please repost the link if you know anyone else with RA who still needs to do it.
- Our RA Onset Stories Matter
- Who Are e-Patients? A Simple Explanation
- Rheumatoid Arthritis News, Vol.5: Men & Mortality, Vitamin D Research, New RA Meds