Much suffering could be avoided, particularly in elderly patients, if rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was diagnosed sufficiently early and treated effectively. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease meaning that the body’s own immune system has turned on itself. In RA this process results in symptoms of redness, warmth, pain and swelling of the joints and is associated with osteoporosis and increased cardiovascular risk. There are many ways to treat the condition without having to resort to joint replacement surgery including biologic drugs. The role of the Consultant Rheumatologist is to find the right treatment and prevent progressive damage to the joints.