Information to help you with your first appointment with your specialist, possible treatments, personal care plans and the multi-disciplinary team
It is possible that you will get a firm diagnosis at this visit, although as these diseases are sometimes difficult to diagnose in the very early stages you may or may not need further tests and visits to get to that stage. This step will cover details about the first appointment with your consultant, possible treatments which may be recommended, information about your personal care plan and the multi-disciplinary team who will look after you.
The following topics will be covered in this step:
- Preparing for appointment in advance
- The Multidisciplinary Team
- Drug Treatments in Inflammatory Arthritis
- Commonly prescribed DMARDs for those with RA
- Guidance on diagnosis, treatment options and information on plans to help you manage your care
Preparing for appointment in advance
Understanding NICE guidance (RA) - This guideline covers the diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. This guideline has been reviewed, with input from NRAS and the new version will be published in July 2018.
The Multidisciplinary Team
The importance of the multidisciplinary team cannot be underestimated in the care of those with RA and knowing how the teams are made up and how they can help is crucial.
NRAS table describing the different members of the multidisciplinary team
Drug Treatments in Inflammatory Arthritis
Combination therapy for rheumatoid arthritis – Evidence suggests that DMARDS used in combination are an effective way to treat those who are newly diagnosed.
Getting established on DMARD therapy - DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) These drugs have the effect of dampening down the underlying disease process, rather than simply treating symptoms.
NRAS article on steroids in rheumatoid arthritis
Medicines in Rheumatoid Arthritis - This booklet is intended to alleviate some of the worry and stress related to taking medicines and to put things in perspective.
Commonly prescribed DMARDs for those with RA
Getting established on DMARD therapy - DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs)These drugs have the effect of dampening down the underlying disease process, rather than simply treating symptoms. This article contains a list of the commonly prescribed DMARDs used in the treatment of RA. For further information please call our helpline 0800 298 7650
NRAS article on Methotrexate in RA
NRAS article: An introduction to Arava (leflunomide)
Guidance on diagnosis, treatment options and information on plans to help you manage your care
NRAS article on imaging techniques - Information on imaging techniques such as x-ray, ultrasound, MRI and CT scans
Disease activity scoring (DAS) in RA – this is an assessment used to measure the level of disease activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis and is important in determining whether your disease is being well controlled.
NRAS informaton on the DAS28 score (videos, booklets and article) - The DAS28 is a measure of disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The score is calculated by a complex mathematical formula, which includes the number of tender and swollen joints (out of a total of 28), the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, a blood marker of inflammation), and the patient’s ‘global assessment of global health' (indicated by marking a 10 cm line between very good and very bad). A DAS28 score greater than 5.1 implies active disease, less than 3.2 well controlled disease, and less than 2.6 remission.
NRAS booklet Newly Diagnosed – next steps - An essential booklet for those who have been newly diagnosed with RA. Topics discussed include:-
- Being diagnosed
- What rheumatoid arthritis is and how it can affect you
- Care and treatment
- Managing day to day
- Thinking about the future
Personal Care Plans (PCP) - A care plan is an agreement between you and your health professional (and/or social services) to help you manage your health day-to-day. It can be a written document or something recorded in your patient notes. Care plans will vary from patient to patient and may record your treatment, medication, test results and goals along with any other needs that you have.
NHS Choices what is a PCP?
Understanding NICE Guidance - This guideline covers the diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis in adults.This guideline has been reviewed, with input from NRAS and the new version will be published in July 2018.
Foot Health - NRAS information on how to care for the feet