STATE — The Arthritis Foundation announced today the start of a new pilot program designed to improve the early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The goal of the program is to decrease the number of people with inflammatory arthritis who become disabled due to the lack of early diagnosis and treatment.
The foundation has set up a toll-free number, 1-866-720-4297, to offer New Jersey-area residents the ability to take a specially designed screening questionnaire to help them learn if they need follow up care from a health care provider who specializes in the care of people with arthritis.
“The Arthritis Foundation wants to assist people living with joint symptoms to learn if they need further treatment to prevent disability from inflammatory arthritis,” said Dr. Patience White, Vice President, Public Health with the Arthritis Foundation. “There are new effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis so making the diagnosis and starting appropriate treatment early is crucial to preventing permanent joint damage.”
The Arthritis Foundation offers the following additional facts about rheumatoid arthritis:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disease which affects 1.3 million people in the U.S.
- There are 2.5 times as many women as there are men with RA.
- Onset of RA is usually middle-age, but it often occurs in the 20s and 30s.
- The Arthritis Foundation reports that thirty to forty percent (30-40%) of people with RA experience work loss within five years of diagnosis. Within 10 years this figure doubles to sixty percent (60%).
For more information on rheumatoid arthritis or to take part in the screening program, call the Arthritis Foundation at 1-866-720-4297.
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