Rheumatology Associates Participates in First Annual Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

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Nation’s Leading Cause of Disability in the Spotlight this September

This September, Rheumatology Associates is participating in the first annual Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM) to raise awareness about rheumatic diseases in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. RDAM is sponsored by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and its national public awareness campaign, Simple Tasks.

More than 52.5 million Americans – young and old – live with painful, debilitating and life-threatening rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases are the nation’s leading cause of disability. These diseases often strike individuals in the prime of their lives and can lead to long-term disability and premature death if not treated early and effectively.

Seeing a rheumatologist within the first weeks and months of disease onset – what rheumatologists call the ‘window of opportunity’– can dramatically improve long-term outcomes for patients, so it is important to know what symptoms to look for and when to ask your doctor for a referral to a trained specialist. Once diagnosed, people living with rheumatic diseases can face significant healthcare obstacles, including a shortage of trained rheumatologists to treat their conditions and expensive co-pays for specialty therapies.

Because rheumatic disease symptoms can be difficult to pinpoint and are sometimes dismissed as merely the aches and pains of getting older, people living with these diseases may go years before seeking treatment or receiving a correct diagnosis.

Symptoms of rheumatic disease vary by person and condition, but may include:

  • Joint or muscle pain, inflammation, swelling, redness or stiffness;
  • Eye irritation and inflammation;
  • Skin rash;
  • General fatigue, malaise and fevers;
  • Hair loss;
  • Dry eyes or mouth;
  • Chest pain; and
  • Seizures or stroke.

“At Rheumatology Associates we treat all varieties of rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoporosis, sarcoidosis, scleroderma, reactive arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, to name just a few,” explained Dr. Sharad Lakhanpal, physician partner at Rheumatology Associates and incoming president of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). “We also work with Metroplex Clinical Research Center (MCRC) to conduct clinical trials and research. No one should have to live with chronic, persistent and mysterious pain.”

“Unfortunately, too many patients struggle to access and afford effective care and treatments for their rheumatic diseases,” said Dr. Joan Von Feldt, MD, MSEd, president of the ACR. “Therefore, in addition to increasing awareness about symptoms and treatment options, Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month is also an opportunity to advance the health and well-being of those living with rheumatic disease by advocating for healthcare policies that help patients access safe, affordable and effective healthcare.”

People who want to learn more about rheumatic diseases can visit the Rheumatology Associates website at http://www.arthdocs.com.

About Rheumatology Associates
Rheumatology Associates was founded in 1975 and is now one of the largest single specialty Rheumatology groups in the United States. Our physicians have extensive experience in clinical practice, clinical research and basic science research. Our group provides care to patients throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with convenient locations in Arlington, Dallas, Duncanville, Grapevine, Irving, Lewisville, North Richland Hills and Plano. For more information, visit http://www.arthdocs.com.

About Metroplex Clinical Research Center (MCRC)
MCRC has been involved in developing new investigational rheumatoid arthritis medications for 25 years, serving as one of the original research sites to conduct trials with Enbrel in 1993 and in the development of newer investigational drugs. The physician's private practice, Rheumatology Associates, and MCRC have a combined database of more than 50,000 individuals. This includes private patients, individuals who have participated in clinical trials or those who have expressed an interest in clinical trials. The physicians at MCRC are heavily involved in designing, conducting and analyzing clinical trials, as well as reporting the results at national and international scientific meetings.

About the American College of Rheumatology
The American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing more than 9,400 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to Advance Rheumatology! In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

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Donna Hegdahl
The TransSynergy Group
+1 972-717-3500
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