Monash Medical Centre

Clinical Activity:

Professor Eric Morand is a specialist rheumatologist, and Head of the Southern Health/Monash Medical Centre Rheumatology Unit. 

He specalises in the clinical care of complex rheumatic diseases, rheumatoid arthriits, and systemic lupus erythematosus. 

He is founder of the Monash Lupus Clinic, Australia's largest Lupus-focussed research-grounded clinic for patients with SLE.

View Eric’s biography here

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, in many ways similar to lupus, that causes pain and swelling of the joints. The normal role of your body's immune system is to fight off infections to keep you healthy. In an autoimmune disease, your immune system starts attacking your own healthy tissues. In RA, the immune system targets the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and joint damage. RA usually affects smaller joints, such as the joints in the hands and feet. However larger joints such as the hips and knees can also be affected.

Who's at risk?

Despite widely held views, developing rheumatoid arthritis is not a normal part of ageing. It's a condition seen in people of all ages, including children and young people, and people from all backgrounds and lifestyles. The causes of RA are unknown, however it is more common in people who smoke or those with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

The symptoms of RA vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:

joint pain, swelling, and tenderness to touch

stiffness in the joints, especially in the morning

symmetrical (the same joints on both sides of the body are affected). 

Many people with RA experience ‘flares', periods when joints become more inflamed and painful. These can happen with no obvious cause. ‘Flares' are commonly followed by months or even years when there is little inflammation. RA can cause permanent joint damage and deformity, especially in the first few years of the disease. The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment is shown to limit this type of joint damage.

A need for improved treatment

There is no cure for arthritis, however treatments have improved dramatically in the past 20 years. Your rheumatologist will tailor your treatment based on your 

symptoms and the severity of your condition. There is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you, so your doctor may need to trial several different treatments before finding the one that is right for you. Medication, exercise and leading a healthy life, and pain management are all things your specialist may prescribe.

Arthritis research at Monash

Lupus and Arthritis Research Group

Monash is leading the way in the research and treatment of arthritis in Australia. Our researchers are clinician-scientists with backgrounds in rheumatology, kidney disease, immunology, and clinical trials.

Uncovering and developing new arthritis treatments and conducting clinical trials is a key focus of our arthritis research.

Find out more about our research.

Monash patient care and clinics

Monash Health Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinic

The Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinic at Monash Health is located at Monash Medical Centre in Clayton.

The clinic, led by Professor Michelle Leach, provides services in the treatment of chronic pain syndrome, joint problems, multi-system/connective tissue disease, muscle aches and pain, osteoporosis/metabolic bone disease, periartricular/soft tissue, rheumatism, rheumatological disorders and rehabilitation.

Find out more and make a booking with the Monash Health Rheumatology Clinic today.

Paediatric Rheumatology Clinic

We also have a specialist paediatric rheumatology clinic for children and adolescents with arthritis, auto immune connective tissue diseases or benign musculoskeletal conditions. Find out more about Paediatric Rheumatology.

© Lions Rheumatism and Arthritis Medical Research Foundation Australia | Updated July 18 2022 |
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