For the newly diagnosed– why should you take your Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) seriously?

July 29, 2010

Have you been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) ?
I’m sure your first reaction would be: Why me????
You must have heard a lot about RA. You must have heard about many things including:
1. There is no treatment for RA.
2. You will invariably end up with deformities.
3. Irrespective of what you try, you will never do well.
4. Arthritis medicines are very ‘strong’.

We all agree that RA is not a good ailment to have. It is a crippling, disabling disease (IF NOT TAKEN CARE OF).
So, now that you have been diagnosed to have RA, what is the best can you do?
1. I would like to remind you of an old saying… if you have to do something anyways, might as well do it with a smile. So, accept the diagnosis of RA. The time wasted in coming to terms with the diagnosis is going to be crucial in the long run.
2. Time is equivalent to function in the long run. The earlier the diagnosis & the earlier you are on the DMARDs (disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs), better will you be in the long run.
3. We definitely do have very effective medicines for RA. These medicines have entirely changed our outlook towards this dreaded disease in the last few years. However, how well they control your RA is, to a great extent dependent on how early you start them.
4. See a Rhematologist at the earliest. He would be the best person to guide you & start DMARDs.
5. Always remember that the time from the start of your complaints to reaching the diagnosis & starting DMARDs will get magnified in terms of deformities & disability in future.
So, understand that RA is an emergency & start definitive treatment rather than wasting time brooding over why you got it & what lies in store for you. In fact, you can change your future with a quick action. We, as Rheumatologists & clinical scientists are working hard to ensure a better future for you joints, you & your family.

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