Tara Snelgrove BSc, MSc, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL.
Proton Rahman MD, MSc, FRCPC, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common etiology for inflammatory arthritis in the older population, with an estimated prevalence of 2%. An older individual with inflammatory polyarthritis usually falls into one of two categories. The first consists of patients with well-established long-standing disease, whose course is often confounded by end organ damage and toxicity related to antirheumatic drugs. The other category comprises patients with late-onset inflammatory polyarthritis, whose presentation is often nonspecific and, thus, more elusive to diagnose. Systemic lupus erythematous can also occur in the older adult; it is less prevalent than rheumatoid arthritis and is associated with multiple organ involvement, including musculoskeletal symptoms.
Key words: rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory polyarthritis, late-onset disease.