Recently Diagnosed with a Rheumatic Disease?

The first weeks and months following the onset of rheumatic disease symptoms are known as the “window of opportunity,” and it’s crucial that patients get appropriate treatment in that time period to avoid long-term complications.

Treatment early in the disease — even within the first 12 weeks for some patients— can prevent damage to joints and other organs, improve long-term function, and increase the likelihood of achieving disease remission. If left untreated, rheumatic diseases cause progressive damage to affected organs and joints. Substantial research demonstrates that early and aggressive treatment significantly improves patient outcomes.

A recent study shows that patients who receive treatment within 12 weeks of disease onset report nearly 30 percent less pain after 36 months than those patients who receive treatment after 12 weeks.

  • Visit our resources page to learn more about rheumatic diseases, how they affect millions of patients and what you can do to advocate for patients’ rights.
  • See an overview of various rheumatic diseases ranging from gout to lupus to rheumatoid arthritis and more.
  • Get up-to-date information on the most common treatments including medication and therapies.


What does a Rheumatologist do?

Just as you would go to an oncologist to treat cancer, it is critical to go to a rheumatologist to receive the best total care for a rheumatic disease.

Rheumatologists are doctors specially trained to diagnose, manage and treat arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Rheumatologists have a deep understanding of the physical, mental, economic and societal impacts of rheumatic diseases and are skilled at recognizing and treating the wide array of rheumatic disease symptoms that can affect almost any organ in the body. It is best to see a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis treatment or treatment of other rheumatic diseases.

If you think you have rheumatic disease, ask your primary care doctor to refer you to a rheumatologist. Don’t wait. The sooner you get diagnosed and begin treatment, the sooner you will begin to feel better.

Find a Rheumatologist