It's a gratifying time to be caring for patients with arthritis and rheumatic diseases. In recent decades, new diseases have been defined, the relationship of our genes to many diseases have been characterized, a variety of new classes of medications have been developed, better surgical methods have become available, and modern information technology is assisting an ever more informed patient population.
I encourage patients to be motivated to take every advantage of the medical breakthroughs of our age. Patients and their families should become as informed as possible about their health issues. They should understand the diagnoses, likely course and long-term outlook, treatment options, and warning signs of complications. Working with an informed and motivated patient unquestionably affords the opportunity for ideal care.
I hope to use this column to provide viewers unique insights into special circumstances of interest that are encountered as we doctors and patients join to manage arthritis and rheumatic diseases.
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., M.D., F.A.C.P.