Rheumatoid arthritis

Stuff (your patients) should know about rheumatoid arthritis

RA book coverSydney rheumatologist Dr Irwin Lim believes in using all mediums available to help educate his patients and others affected by inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

He is active on social media, blogs for his multidisciplinary clinic BJC Health, and has recently published a book Stuff you should know about rheumatoid arthritis for patients.

It’s all part of his effort to generate ‘higher level conversations’ about rheumatoid arthritis and help allay any fears and misconceptions about the disease and its management.

“The reality is people only remember a fraction of what we tell them. I hope the book will reinforce what we have said and provide a framework within which to judge other information they read online or hear from well meaning friends.”

Dr Lim told the limbic one of the major concerns patients have is about methotrexate.

“A lot of misinformation is based on the fact methotrexate started as a chemotherapy and was used at much higher doses than we use.”

Other key messages for patients are the heterogeneity of the disease and the importance of early diagnosis and effective management to prevent joint damage.

“Some patients are happy just to follow their doctor’s advice. I’m pitching this book to those who want to empower themselves with more knowledge.”

Dr Lim, who has been blogging since 2010, has upcycled selected blog posts into each chapter in his book.

He said feedback on his blog had certainly made him more open to the patient experience. For example, he has a deeper appreciation for the impact of other symptoms such as fatigue on patients’ day-to-day lives.

“Face to face conversations can be filtered. We can also learn from what patients say online.”

“In general, social media and blogs are a good thing. The problem is not enough doctors are generating content which could swamp the misinformation out there.”

Stuff you should know about rheumatoid arthritis is available as an e-book and in hard copy.

Dr Lim said it might also be useful for students and allied health professionals.

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