Rheumatoid arthritis and arthrosis is a collective name for more than 100 musculoskeletal disorders. More than 1.5 million Dutch have a form of rheumatism. Common symptoms are joint inflammation, stiffness, pain and fatigue.
In general rheumatoid arthritis and arthrosis is more common in women than men and presents more often later in life than early. For the time being there is no cure for most forms of rheumatism but there is treatment. Musculoskeletal disorders are one of the most important causes of employment disability. It is expected that the number of people with rheumatoid arthritis and arthrosis will increase in the future due to the aging population, increased obesity and too little exercise or an unhealthy lifestyle.
Improvement in the dissemination of information, prevention of, and research is being addressed in various ways. This takes place in conjunction with the Reumafonds and the patient society for Rheumatoid arthritis and arthrosis. The CHECK-cohort is a worldwide cohort for early arthritis. Six of the eight UMC’s and several peripheral centres participate in this cohort. The early arthritis clinic in Leiden has experience with inflammatory arthritis. Most UMC’s where arthritis/arthrosis research takes place maintain intensive relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries (Abbott, Wyeth, Roche, Schering-Plough, Centocor, CELERA en Philips). Thanks to these cohorts the Netherlands belongs to the top five countries with the most publications in the field of rheumatology. At the European level, the Leiden Univeristy Medical Centre coordinates a European integrated project called Masterswitch (an FP7-programme). Participation takes place in several Eular Study Groups.