Just what does travel have to do with rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs)? On the surface, not much. But if you dig a little deeper, they do share something. A missed train connection leads to delays which can have a snowball effect, forcing travellers to change plans, lose time and, of course, deal with a lot of stress.
And if you have symptoms of a rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases like arthritis, not seeing a doctor early on in your symptoms can also have a snowball effect. Without early diagnosis and treatment, patients’ conditions worsen, they require more aggressive treatments and their quality of life can be seriously impacted.
The idea of making the right connection at the right time is what sparked EULAR’s decision to launch their new awareness campaign Madrid’s main Atocha train station. The ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’ pop-up event on June 14th was the first—but far from the last—of its kind in Europe. EULAR is a pan-European organisation that brings together patients with rheumatic diseases with the healthcare professionals and academics who specialise in rheumatology to find new ways to improve care for patients, reduce the burden of RMDs on individuals and society and improve the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of these diseases.
Passers-by were given leaflets encouraging them to consult with a doctor if they suffer from joint pain, stiffness and exhaustion, as all three can be early symptoms of RMDs, which affect an estimated 120 million people of all ages across Europe alone.
The campaign was timed to coincide with EULAR’s 70th anniversary and will be launching at country level across Europe in the coming months.
EULAR hopes the campaign will raise awareness amongst patients and healthcare professionals alike and encourage early diagnosis and treatment of joint problems before they seriously limit quality of life.