Dr. Kanika Monga is a rheumatologist in Houston, Texas. She tells us September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month. Rheumatic disease is really quite common says Dr. Monga, 54 million Americans, that’s one in four are living with a doctor diagnosed rheumatic condition and it isn’t just limited to adults. Children can have these diseases as well. There are over 100 conditions under the umbrella of rheumatic conditions. That can include autoimmune inflammatory and degenerative diseases. It can be chronic and debilitating so early diagnosis and treatment is key. They did a national survey with over 1,100 patients. The ACR and the Simple Task Public Awareness Campaign conducted this survey and it really built on data from previous years. It also shed new light on telehealth. Dr. Monga says 61% of those who responded indicated that sometimes their disease feels invisible because they don’t look sick on the outside so that’s a very important part and it shows us why it is so important to increase awareness and understanding of these diseases. The motto of this years Rheumatic Awareness Month is: My Disease May be Invisible but I’m Not.
Another finding of the survey is 66% of patients this year used telehealth to get continued care from their Rheumatologist provider. Dr. Monga says that’s wonderful, even during a pandemic, patients are continuing to get rheumatology care.
They have a new, tell your story, feature where you can share your diverse perspectives of a patient living with a chronic rheumatic condition.