An average of 15% of patients initially received a diagnosis of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD) or Undifferentiated Spondylitis (USpA), due to symptom detection but inability to determine disease specificity.

It took an average of 1.2 years to upgrade the diagnosis of UCTD/USpA to one of the six diseases in this investigation.

However, more than 50% of all patients had onset symptoms for at least one or more years (in some cases over 10 times the ACR/EULAR recommended time frame to treat) but never received any undifferentiated diagnosis.

"There's nothing wrong with you."

If you would like more information about this study, please email the Project Manager, IFAA CEO Tiffany Westrich-Robertson, at

Photo Left: Project Manager of the Early Symptoms of Autoimmune Arthritis study discussing results with interested rheumatologist.

Each nonprofit reviewed the disease respective to its mission.  The Spondylitis Association of America reviewed both Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis, Lupus UK reviewed for lupus, and  IFAA reviewed Rheumatoid  Arthritis. The International Still's Disease Foundation reviewed for Adult Onset Still's Disease, but they have since dissolved and released all resources to be housed at IFAA (Learn more).  Additional research survey development and mentoring was provided by Floyd J. Fowler Jr., Author of Survey Research Methods in Boston, MA.  Funding for the research was supported by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, but they were not participants in the process.

This project was made possible with support from Janssen and additional funding donated by IFAA.  Additionally, over 3500 hours of time were donated to making this possible.

The Early Symptoms of Autoimmune Arthritis Study aims to address the following equation: Early Detection + Early Referrals + Early Diagnosis + Early Treatment = Better Chance for Remission.  If a patient's disease is detected early, it leads to an earlier referral to a specialist, which then results in earlier diagnosis and treatment.  Patients who are treated early in their disease have a far better chance of combating unnecessary damage and disability, and can elevate their chances of achieving remission.Learn more about the process.

This study was developed and led by IFAA and reviewed by the following Nonprofit Expert Organizations:‚Äč

investigation into the early symptoms of autoimmune arthritis

More than 75% of patients experience fatigue in early disease, with more than half claiming it is a first symptom.

Between 30 and 90% reported 'brain fog'/mental cloudiness the first 24 months from onset, regardless of diagnosis.


While AOSD, SLE, PsA, & Sjogren's patients had the highest rate of rash onset in early disease, RA & AS patients also reported > 30% incidence.

Cross-Symptoms of Autoimmune Arthritis