An increasing interest in treating individuals at risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to prevent the development of this chronic condition has focussed attention on the identification of risk factors of this disease. Most patients who develop RA progress through a preceding symptomatic phase that may take the form of arthralgia, palindromic rheumatism or unclassified arthritis before a disease currently classifiable as RA is established. An understanding of symptoms that identify individuals as being at risk of RA is a critical issue. Constellations of relevant symptoms could (1) form the basis of public health campaigns to encourage rapid consultation, (2) inform primary health care providers regarding which patients to perform additional tests in or whom to refer to a rheumatologist and (3) be included in algorithms to predict RA development. In this review, we present qualitative and quantitative data summarising current understanding of the symptoms experienced by individuals at risk of RA.
- Clinically suspect arthralgia
- Early arthritis
- Palindromic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Undifferentiated arthritis