Early rheumatoid disease. I. Onset.
We describe features with onset in 102 patients seen within the first year of rheumatoid disease. The male:female ratio was approximately 3:4, suggesting a near equal sex incidence at onset. The disease started more often in the colder months and was usually insodious, symmetrical, and involved the upper limbs. The patients were followed prospectively and outcome was assessed after a mean of 4.5 years. Older patients fared worse and there was a trend for a poorer prognosis to be indicated by an insidious onset and early progression to symmetrical involvement.