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Rheumatoid arthritis 'must be caught early'

Rheumatoid arthritis 'must be caught early'
4th August 2011

People dependant on home care should get checked from rheumatoid arthritis if they are worried they may have the condition, according to one expert.

Neil Betteridge, chief executive of Arthritis Care, said it is essential that rheumatoid arthritis must be detected as early as possible.

He explained that new therapies can be "quite powerful", if the patient receives them in the early stages of the condition.

"If you speak to leading rheumatologists in the UK, and other parts of Europe, they will tell you that their remission clinics for early arthritis are full - these treatments are working, but only if they can see the patient in that first 12 weeks," said Mr Betteridge.

In other news, research published online in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases revealed that delays in the specialist assessment of patients with suspected rheumatoid arthritis are "unacceptably long".

Authors found that the average delay between the start of symptoms to assessment by a rheumatologist was 24 weeks.

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