Rheumatoid Awareness Day
Rheumatoid Awareness Day is today, February 2. Let's join the RA Day's founder, the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF), in taking up the banner to help spread the word about rheumatoid arthritis, a confusing and misunderstood disease.
The first Rheumatoid Awareness Day was in 2013. Since then, it has garnered more and more attention and support all over the world. According to the RPF, the main goal is to give those with RA a day of recognition, while at the same helping to clear up the misconception that it's simply a form of arthritis. This lack of understanding about the disease causes a variety of problems, including with disability accommodations, clinical care, healthcare costs, and funding for new and continuing research.
Rheumatoid arthritis is often confused with osteoarthritis, the "wear-and-tear" form of arthritis that many people get as they reach middle age. But rheumatoid arthritis is far more serious than OA.
“Joint inflammation is a prominent symptom of this disease for most patients, but it’s a disservice to refer to it as merely a type of arthritis,” states RPF founder Kelly Young. In fact, RA is an autoimmune disease that affects the entire body, including the joints. The body's immune system goes haywire and attacks its own tissues as if they were foreign invaders, like bacteria or viruses, and tries its level best to destroy them.
RA can attack and inflame the linings of the heart and lungs, the eyes, the kidneys, and even the body's vascular system. Dangerous--even deadly--illness and damage may result.
RA is progressive and incurable. The inflammation it causes can result in severe joint pain, frequent and sometimes permanent disability, and mortality. And while current treatments can make a world of difference for those who have RA, they can't always relieve symptoms. Actual disease remission is rare.
Rheumatoid Awareness Day is held just as Heart Disease Awareness Month gets underway, emphasizing the ominous link between rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. Because of RA's potential to affect the heart, rheumatoid patients have a higher incidence of stroke, atrial fibrillation, and silent heart attack.
This is not your grandmother's arthritis.
Join RheumatoidArthritis.net in observing Rheumatoid Awareness Day. Let's help raise awareness about all aspects of RA through social media and word of mouth. Educate those around you about the seriousness of this disease, and help generate more research funding for better, more effective medications and, one day, a cure.
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?