Early diagnosis 'can ease pain of arthritis'

Over 50s concerned about the risk posed by rheumatoid arthritis should not delay in reporting potential symptoms to doctors, according to a medical body.

A report released by the National Audit Office has revealed that many sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis are not being diagnosed and treated early enough, with the average patient being treated nine months after the onset of symptoms as opposed to the recommended three months.

Samantha Peters, chief executive of the British Society for Rheumatology, said that many of the most painful effects of the disease could be prevented if the condition is flagged up early.

She called on those suffering from such common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms as painful and swollen joints or stiffness to ensure they consult their GP promptly in order to identify and treat the potential problem as soon as possible.

Ms Peters said: "Don't delay because that really will affect your long-term chances of living with arthritis well."

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