Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic progressive disease caused by inflammation as a result of the immune system attacking itself. Rheumatoid arthritis can damage the tissue and cartilage in the joints, and even the bone, if not correctly managed, which is why early diagnosis and management is so vital. The National institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends assessment by a rheumatologist within 3 weeks of symptoms that could suggest rheumatoid arthritis as early diagnosis and management is vitally important to establish good control of this condition.