Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases: Early Diagnosis is Key

 In Alive & Well, General Health



Each year, the 12th of October marks World Arthritis Day, with the focus for 2017 being ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’. Essentially, the goal is to raise awareness of how important early diagnosis of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) is. Connecting with your healthcare professional as early as possible can mean simplified and minimised pain management needs, and an overall better quality of life.


A bit about RMDs

There are over 200[i] inflammatory and non-inflammatory types of RMDs.

Inflammatory RMDs include ankylosing spondylitis (AS), rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica and connective tissue diseases.

Common non-inflammatory RMDs include osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and degenerative spine diseases.

Without appropriate treatment, RMDs can negatively affect a number of aspects of our day-to-day life that many of us take for granted: walking, standing and sitting, work duties and more.

So, how do you recognise when to act?


Be aware of the signs

The ability to recognise the accompanying signs and symptoms of RMDs is integral to early diagnosis. Connect with a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing:

  • Reduced flexibility or range of motion in joints
  • Tender, deformed, red and/or swollen joints
  • Feeling of weakness, extreme fatigue, general discomfort
  • Stiffness in the morning and when inactive
  • Pins and needles sensation

All of the associated symptoms may disappear and reappear, and can have varying levels of severity. So, if you do experience any of them but they fade, it’s still important to consult with your healthcare professional just in case. Remember: Don’t Delay, Connect Today.


Know the risk factors

When you’re more conscious that you’re more at-risk of RMDs than others, you can stay more vigilant when keeping an eye out for symptoms. The following may put you into this category:

Increasing age – although they can affect people of all ages, the risk is increased with age peaking at 60-64[ii].

Family History – You can be more at risk if someone in your family already has a RMD.

Gender – Females are more likely to experience osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, while males are more likely to experience goutii.

Occupation – Repetitive movements and poor posture may cause problems (whether you’re behind a desk or outside doing manual labour).

Lifestyle – Smoking, being an unhealthy weight and general inactivity are all possible risk factors.


Pain management for rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases

With so many different types of RMDs combined with varied level of severity of pain and so many other factors to consider, it’s important to get the right information to suit you.

Find out what pain management options are right for your individual needs by talking with your local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist or GP today.



[i] https://www.eular.org/myUploadData/files/EULAR_Ten_facts_about_RMDs.pdf

[ii] https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/fbc4c9df-ed87-475f-9f17-dbd508ac11c0/20908.pdf.aspx?inline=true

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