Autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) are a diverse group of conditions that primarily affect the joints, bones, muscle, and connective tissue.1 They can be especially challenging to diagnose during early stages, often presenting with nonspecific symptoms and signs that may flare and remit. However, early diagnosis is important to improve outcomes for patients.
Read this article to review ARDs and the importance of early and accurate diagnosis. It discusses the importance of laboratory testing for autoantibodies and how antibody panels can help to rule in or rule out common autoimmune diseases. Also discussed is the importance of laboratory testing before and after biologic drugs are administered for treatment of ARDs.
1. van der Heijde D, Daikh DI, Betteridge N, et al. Common language description of the term rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) for use in communication with the lay public, healthcare providers and other stakeholders endorsed by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Ann Rheum Dis. 2018;77:829-832.
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