For half a million women in the UK, rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition that can be severely disabling.
Women are three times more likely than men to be affected by RA
It's caused by a disease of the autoimmune system which leads to inflammation and destruction of the joints.
A campaign is being launched today to raise awareness into the condition and to look at what can be done to help sufferers.
This morning on Breakfast:
We spoke to Carrie Wright who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and our resident GP Dr Rosemary Leonard
Carrie was diagnosed with the condition when she was three years old - watch again from the link to the right
And we also found out more from another RA sufferer - 61 year old Rosemary Cleaver who told us her story
Women are three times more likely to suffer from the condition as men - ten women MPs are backing the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and Arthritis Care to urge the Government to adopt a five-point plan for better funding and access to the latest treatment.
The campaign is being sponsored by Tory MP Theresa May and includes an 80-page
photo book where the MPs have interviewed 10 women with RA.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex, chronic inflammatory disease, which has no known cure.
The cause of the condition is not known, but many factors, including genetic predisposition, may affect the autoimmune process
RA is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 70
Women are three times more likely to have RA than men
The long-term prognosis for patients with the condition is poor; many patients face increased disability, and premature death
42% of RA patients are registered disabled within three years of diagnosis
Almost 80% of RA patients are moderately to severely disabled within 20 years of diagnosis
9.4 million working days were lost because of RA between 1999-2000 in Great Britain, representing £833 million in lost production
While people with RA may wish to work, the employment environment is not always supportive
Key recommendations to improve life for women with RA
Every PCT to have a full rheumatology team to assess patient needs early diagnosis and treatment can help
PCTs to properly fund NICE's recommendation about when patients should have access to the new generation of anti-TNF drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.
The Women and Equality Unit - tasked with getting more women into work, should consider the needs of women with RA
The DoH and Dept of Work and Pensions should consider the needs of RA patients in order to return to work
The Government should make sure that the White Paper on Incapacity Benefit does not penalise RA patients
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