Painful, debilitating, and costly - rheumatic conditions can make even the simplest tasks — such as eating, brushing your teeth and driving a car — impossible.

The first weeks and months following the onset of rheumatic disease symptoms are known as the 'window of opportunity', and it is crucial that patients get appropriate treatment in that time period to avoid lasting complications.

Rheumatic diseases are not just 'aches and pains', and are not a normal part of aging. They strike adults of all ages, but most often strike in the prime of life and can be crippling, life-changing and life-threatening. These diseases also strike children and they carry the same destructive blow to a child’s health and well-being as they do to an adult’s.

The conditions

Rheumatic conditions are autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that cause the immune system to attack a person’s joints, muscles, bones, and organs. Rheumatic conditions are often lumped under the term arthritis — a term used to describe over 200 conditions. Under this umbrella term ‘arthritis’, there are over 30 inflammatory rheumatic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, scleroderma, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, spondylarthritides, polymyalgia rheumatica, and several forms of systemic vasculitis (including giant cell arteritis). This list does not include the most common form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis, which results in a breakdown of bone and cartilage in joints (with inflammation being much less prominent).