Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease and autoimmune. It mainly affects the joints, although being systemic, it can compromise other organs. The main symptoms are: joint pain and / or swelling (hands, feet, knees, ankles and elbows), stiffness in the morning, general weakness, fatigue and less frequently fever. For all this, the quality of life of many patients is affected: they must miss work, reorganize their responsibilities or ask others for help to carry out their daily routines.
It is estimated that In Argentina, some 400,000 people suffer from the disease, and it is not estimated at a global level that it affects between 0.5% and 1% of the world population, that is, more than 20 million people.. It develops more often in women than in men between the ages of 20 and 50. Although its detection is more common in adulthood, it can also affect children and young people.
Every October 12 is World Rheumatoid Arthritis Day. Established in 1996 by the International Association of Arthritis and Rheumatology (ARI), it aims to raise awareness and support patients and families around the world. In this framework, the Argentine Society of Rheumatology (SAR) carries out this national campaign for free detection.
When rheumatoid arthritis is not treated in time, the severe pain and inflammation of the joints becomes disabling, being able to generate disability and serious consequences in the daily life of the patient.
“Is a disease that can have an insidious onset but, if not treated in time, can lead to joint damage and impact on quality of life from the patients. It is essential that people consult, that they go to the specialist, that they can reach an early diagnosis. We are aware that the pandemic greatly complicated this dynamic. We hope that this initiative that we will carry out throughout the country will be known so that many can join”, explained Dr. María Celina de la Vega (MN 89.104), president of the Argentine Society of Rheumatology.
Like any chronic disease, it is important to know it and learn to live with it, but if it is treated on time and regular check-ups with the specialist doctor are maintained, a good quality of life can be achieved and people with the disease can carry out their personal, family, social and work activities without major difficulties.
“What is lost is not recovered and we must consider that this is a disease that occurs more frequently in the most productive years of adulthood .If we don’t diagnose and treat it early, rheumatoid arthritis can be disabling. And this has a direct impact on the family, social and work bond of the patient”, said Dr. Anastasia Secco (MN 102,795), a member of the SAR Board of Directors.
For all this, early diagnosis is key to starting successful treatment and improving quality of life. “Our main objective when we start treating a patient with rheumatoid arthritis is that he can reach Sustained remission or low disease activity is essential for the patient to be able to carry out their daily activities without feeling limited. Although the advances in treatments in recent years allow us to speak of a progressive increase in remission rates, none of this is achieved if we do not detect and diagnose early. With proper treatment, the progression of the disease can be stopped and patients have an adequate quality of life,” explained Dr. de la Vega.