Getting a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis can be a worrying and overwhelming experience. In the most recent addition to our conversation series, ‘Living with RA’, Gráinne O’Leary meets Dr Carmel Silke from the North-West Rheumatology Clinic to discuss rheumatoid arthritis.  

Our mission in this series is to bring you up to date information on a range of arthritis conditions. During these episodes you will hear from expert voices from across the medical spectrum as we strive to answer some of the more frequent questions you may have and to gain some insight into the latest medical research relating to these conditions. 

In this video, Dr Carmel Silke discusses relevant information regarding the nature and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosis, pregnancy and family planning and the medical and lifestyle interventions that people can adopt to manage their disease.  

 If someone is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2023, it is less of a problem than it was 20 years ago when we had much less treatments. So, we are very optimistic with early treatment. We can do things for it,” says Dr Silke. 



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Dr Carmel Silke also discusses the importance of self-management, reaching out to family and friends and accessing Arthritis Ireland’s supports and services.  

I think educate yourself as much as possible and know that this is a journey that you are going on, that it does have an end. I would always hope that somebody would talk to family members and that the family member should be educated too."  

"This should become less of a problem in time. And you are just going through the worst of it at the moment. Give time to yourself. This is something that you haven’t asked for, it has come on and it’s there but there is treatment for it that will work.

Arthritis Ireland services and supports

Being diagnosed with arthritis can be a very intimidating experience, especially if you don't know where to turn for help. Initial feelings of fear and anger are a completely normal first reaction but, by taking the right steps, a diagnosis of arthritis does not have to alter your quality of life. For more information on how to deal with a new diagnosis, our conversation series featuring Professor Geraldine McCarthy and Dr Jennifer Wilson O’Raghallaigh will provide you with practical and helpful guidance.

Ring - If you are looking for confidential support and information from people who have experienced an arthritis diagnosis first hand you should contact the Arthritis Ireland helpline on 0818 252 846

Learning about your condition should help you to put your mind at ease but take care that what you read comes from a reputable source. Arthritis Ireland has a dedicated information page on rheumatoid arthritis and detailed booklet Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Getting the most from your medical appointments- Once you have been diagnosed prompt action will help you to avoid further damage to your joints so it's important that you work in partnership with your doctor to put together a treatment plan that best suits you.

Self Management - Sign up to one of our Living Well with Arthritis self-management programmes where you will learn the simple steps that make a big difference to people with arthritis.

Talk - Chatting to friends and family, but also to other people who have arthritis, can be a big comfort. A great way to meet people with arthritis is by signing up for the Living Well with Arthritis course.

Help yourself - However arthritis affects you, there is always something that can be done. As well as your medical treatment, a healthy diet and regular exercise are an essential part of controlling arthritis symptoms.

For further detailed information regarding rheumatoid arthritis visit or download our Living with rheumatoid arthritis booklet 


This campaign has kindly been supported by AbbVie.