The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society has launched a unique, interactive educational programme to help those with the debilitating disease.
Love Your Heart was released on Valentine’s Day to enable those with rheumatoid arthritis to understand why they are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and the impact that RA can have on the heart.
The programme is available through the charity’s website, where users navigate through seven chapters of videos, interactive programmes and text so they can understand the reasons why RA increases the risk of CVD, calculate a QRISK®2 score (a GP-recognised prediction algorithm for CVD), learn how to reduce the risk of CVD and log their progress through a series of behavioural goals.
The programme was developed in partnership with the consultant rheumatologist Dr Holly John after face-to-face group sessions brought positive results. The NRAS says the interactive programme is the first of its kind. Its chief executive, Ailsa Bosworth, hopes Love Your Heart will play a major part in reducing the risk of CVD in people with RA.
"We’re the first charity in our field to offer something like this," she says. "It is unique in that it not only provides patient education, but also provides a goal-setting structure through which patients can change their behaviour.
"The data from this programme will also significantly help rheumatologists and GPs, and will become a referral platform when people are diagnosed. This illustrates what can be achieved when patient-led charity organisations work alongside healthcare professionals, and we are hugely excited by its potential."