Joint Pain Forum – News you can use!
Arthritis relief ‘on the way’
from rheumatoid arthritis is now possible if the debilitating disease
is diagnosed and treated early, a conference has been told.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis
and one in six Australians suffers some form of the disease, which
costs the economy an estimated $19 billion a year.
But remission is now a reality and has
become the new treatment goal, arthritis experts from Australia and
overseas told the 50th anniversary meeting of the Australian
Rheumatology Association in Sydney yesterday.
Association president Lyn March said
people suffering persistent joint pain and swelling should see their
doctor because help was available.
Professor March said a key factor in
helping people achieve remission was the use of disease modifying
anti-rheumatic drugs, known as DMARDS, which work by modifying or
“turning off” the body’s immune response.
Professor March said arthritis could
strike at any age, with at least two-thirds of sufferers under the age
“Medicine has advanced dramatically over
the past decade, to the extent that if inflammatory arthritis is
diagnosed early enough, remission is now possible,” she said.
“But we only have a small window of opportunity to successfully treat
people, and diagnosis in the first few years of disease onset is key.”
scientific program committee co-chairman Peter Youssef said that less
than a decade ago arthritis experts would not have considered using the
“With today’s treatment approaches,
achieving remission has become a reality for a considerable proportion
of patients,” Professor Youssef told the meeting.
“We use a variety of tools to measure
“Essentially, remission in terms of
arthritis means the disappearance of symptoms of joint pain and
swelling temporarily or permanently, and the normalisation of blood
The Federal Government declared arthritis a National Health Priority in
“The National Health Priority status was a
good first step but arthritis still needs to receive greater public
policy attention at the state and local health areas where the people
are suffering,” Professor March said.
Early warning signs of arthritis include
joint pain, tenderness, stiffness and muscle pain or weakness.
Other symptoms are a grinding sensation in
the joints or the person’s loss of mobility.
Rheumatologists from across Australia and overseas are attending the
conference, which will end in Sydney tomorrow.
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