Continually building awareness and understanding of rheumatic diseases is critical to both our profession and patient care, according to Kelly Weselman, MD, a rheumatologist in Smyrna, Ga., and a passionate advocate involved in planning the ACR’s annual Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM).
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“Unlike cancer patients, whose disease is well known, patients battling a rheumatic disease encounter unique challenges related to educating family and friends and, in some cases, even employers, insurance companies, physicians and others who [may] be less familiar with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout and the 100+ lesser-known rheumatic diseases that fall under the umbrella term of arthritis,” Dr. Weselman says. “Highlighting these rheumatic diseases as a group serves to increase public awareness, which we hope can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment that can directly impact and ideally lessen a patient’s manifestation and severity of a rheumatic disease.”
September 2017 marks the second-annual RDAM. Sponsored by ACR and Simple Tasks (the ACR’s public awareness campaign), the ultimate aim for RDAM 2017 is to increase public understanding and awareness of the symptoms, risk factors, treatment options, personal and economic impact, and lifestyle and healthcare challenges associated with rheumatic diseases.