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No Men

  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Hi Kerry,
    Yes, the ratios are about 70% of RA patients are women. However, I’m a guy with RA and am one of the moderators and bloggers on this site. I haven’t shared my story but have written lots of blog posts.
    Andrew

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  • By Scott Howard

    I am here! I am here! I am heeeeeere!

    I know what it is like to have a shortage of male support. For many years, I have visited various migraine forums and there are almost no men on them since migraines affect women more.

    On top of the fewer numbers, we men also suffer from the “don’t want to talk about it” syndrome…which I have never understood. I want to talk, read and learn everything I can about my conditions.

    C’mon guys! Talk it up!

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  • By Barbara Vincent

    Hi all,
    I live in a farming community in Australia. Many men in the community die much earlier than they should do, because they think going to the doctor admits they are weak. They die from such things as prostate cancer or heart disease and so on, or become crippled with RA. This is because admitting there is something wrong they think, makes them less of a man. Suggest they go to the doctor once and it is a suggestion, suggest it twice and it’s nagging. Sad, but true. Hey you guys out there, look after yourselves not just for youselves, but for the sake of your families.

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  • By Gayle

    I found that statistic interesting, because I have only met men with RA. The two specific men I am talking about had RA with obvious hand deformities. One man who is my age I met at yoga, I just turned 55 eeks!!! I hate saying that. The other I met somewhere else, maybe it’s because their RA symptoms were obvious that I met them. I did meet another man recently who does not have any noticeable deformities, and has been in remission since diagnosed while taking Enbrel and MTX.. I hate him.. JUST KIDDING! I really need to find a treatment that works, I am a little jealous.. Yes I’m a baby.. So I have met 3 people so far with RA all male!

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  • By Jane Burbach

    I know two men with RA. One is in his 60s and has obvious deformity in his hands and has trouble walking. He was diagnosed decades ago and has been on meds the whole time – don’t know what he takes though. He runs a bail bonds company with his wife. Don’t ask me how I met them! Lol, actually it was at church. He doesn’t talk about the RA but when I saw his hands I told him I have RA and we talked about it a little.

    The other is in his mid-40s, diagnosed in his 20s and takes Enbrel. He has had a couple of infections due to the Enbrel and has had to have surgery for one infection. He has also had a couple of joint replacements earlier on before the Enbrel. He still experiences pain and fatigue and gets depressed. Still works full time in a management position.

    That’s it for my experience with RA men. I hope the forum expands over time. It’s nice to have a place to “talk”.

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  • By Rusty Ray

    Hello all, I’m a man who is freshly diagnosed with ra. I’m 29 and need some insight on how fast ra progresses. Do people still have long careers with ra? If your career is physically demanding should someone do a career change?

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    • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

      Hi Rusty,

      Jane gives some good advice. Sorry about your diagnosis. You’re not alone as there are millions of us in the U.S. alone and this website is a good place to read about RA and make connections with others. You’re probably experiencing lots of emotions and wondering about the future and that’s natural. RA progresses differently for each person. Some have aggressive forms and others more slowly. Many find that symptoms come and go over time. Hopefully you can find a good treatment combination that will keep the disease in check. If the disease remains in check, you may be able to maintain a physically demanding job. But now may also be a good time to think about making a career change just to hedge your bets. Some even find that non-physically demanding jobs can be difficult with RA.

      I hope you have a good rheumatologist with whom you can work on treating your RA.

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  • By Jane Burbach

    Hi Rusty,

    Sorry about the RA diagnosis, but maybe they caught it early? It seems like everyone is different in the course of the illness. They say early diagnosis and aggressive treatment can bring remission and hopefully you fall into that group.

    Maybe the men will share their experience.

    My first symptoms, I think anyway, showed up at 19 in feet, 23 in neck and shoulders after car accident, and at 31 after my youngest son was born. The flares became more frequent and severe. It finally showed in finger swelling, and I was diagnosed last fall at 48 and began treatment then. So it appears to be a late diagnosis for me.

    I have worked the whole time, at times part-time. I have been self employed since 2007 and do consulting work in financial services. So, it is flexible. O probably would not be able to work a full time job with a set hours, etc.

    I had a two year period without flaring from 2010 to 2012 and I could do most anything physically. Mow, paint, work out, white water raft, etc. I felt pretty normal. Now I have been in a consistent period of flaring since December 2012 and I am fairly limited. The fatigue is the worst part.

    Just providing info about my experience for comparison purposes.

    Hopefully yours is caught early and treated aggressively and you will experience remission or lesser symptoms. Did your doctor give you a prognosis or stage based on rheumatoid factor, other labs, and xrays?

    It’s impossible to say whether physical work will be possible in the future. It would not be for me. But again we are all different. The man I know in his 40s was diagnosed in his 20s. He works fulltime in a regional retail management position. He is still fairly active physically.

    If you do physical work, might be a good exercise to consider other types of less physical work that you would like.

    Sorry there’s nothing concrete. Hope you are responding well with treatment.

    Jane

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  • By Rusty Ray

    Well I’m not sure how advanced or how progressed my particular case is. If I were to guess I’ve been having pain in my feet for about 3 years. Maybe for about five years in my hands but what really got my attention was this summer. The fatigue hit me hard and lasted for days. That’s when I went to the Dr. Just a walk in Dr. I haven’t been to a rheumatologist yet , insurance issues but that’s a different tale. The Dr. Prescribed me maloxacam and sent me on my way. So I’m here trying to research before my next move.

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  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Rusty, you really should see a rheumatologist as soon as possible for a definitive diagnosis. Meloxicam is a prescription NSAID (like aspirin) and it might help with pain and inflammation but it does not treat the RA disease processes. Also, make sure to pay attention to possible stomach side effects with Meloxicam.

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  • By Jane Burbach

    Yes, Andrew is right. You do need to see a rheumatologist so you can be have labs and xrays to determine where you are. Hope the meloxicam is helping with the pain and swelling but it won’t help the underlying RA. For RA, they prescribe DMARDs or biologics – my doc started me out of methotrexate and plaquenil, for instance, just over a year ago. The fatigue aspect is the worst part for me unless experiencing a major pain and swelling flare. Hope you can get in to see a rheumatologist soon! Keep in touch.

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  • By Rusty Ray

    Insurance came through it starts the first of February. Well it seemed like it helped for a lil while, im out now. I’ve been eatinga lot of bc powders to help with the pain. My question about the biologicals is do they help with the fatigue? If not what does?

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  • By Jane Burbach

    That’s great about the insurance!

    I haven’t tried biologics yet so I can’t answer. My methotrexate and plaquenil help with the fatigue to some extent but not perfectly.

    Some people take modifinal or stimulants for RA fatigue.

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  • By Eebtool

    Now this is just my opinion and what I think.
    What about the guys with RA that can still get up every morning and get off to work?
    As guys, do we feel that it is not good to be seen as weak or having a disability. Do we feel that it is still our responsibility, no matter how bad we suffer or how sick we may be, to go out and earn the $$, take care of the house, the land and be the strong towering figurehead of the family? We have the need to be seen as the husband, father or grandfather. The person of strength, the great hunter and protector?
    The image of a man with RA is not how we want to be seen.
    But it is OK.
    RA is a life challenge, and I hope is also something that will make us stronger as a husband, father and grandfather. The battle is not about the RA that life has handed us, but more of what we learn from RA and our self, and than what we do with that information to have a full life and be an inspiration to those around us and even to other guys with RA.
    One day to soon, some of us may be beaten down into a shell of what we were in our prime before RA and the strength of the hunter is gone and left our hands twisted and weak, I pray that our children will always remember us as the provider we always wanted to be for them.

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  • By John.simms

    HI my name is John. I was diagnosed 5 years ago. The diagnosis came as a shock. I was dealing with sclerosis which is an issue where the white part of the eye gets really red and orange, has small bumps on it and is painful. I saw a specialist for this condition and he gave me steroid eye drops and meds to stop the condition. He told me that people that develop this condition get it treated and it never returns, so no big deal….6 months later, several shots in the eyeball, and several visits in between, He could not get it under control. He then referred me to a Rheumatoid Dr. because he said this was a symptom of RA. I went to my first visit and the Dr. immediately put my on Methotrexate and folic acid. It took four months and the addition of Simponi injection before the sclerosis went away…he had me tested for RA factor which mine was negative. I was achy all over and after being on the meds for so long the pains started going away. (I had pains in my hands and feet mostly) I just thought it was a part of getting older. (I was 49 at the time of diagnosis). I was taken off of the Simponi 2 years ago when they discovered I had skin cancer on my back and that is a side affect of Simponi. Fortunately the sclerosis had not returned. I was also taken off all meds for 4 months until the cancer was completely gone. My hands and feet ached so bad during that time…I begged my Dr. to put me back on Methotrexate and he did and within a month all the pain in my hands and feet subsided. I have also experienced pain in my hips and low back and neck. The neck and low back are due to damaged disc or bulging disc., which are being caused by the inflammation that is uncontrollable at times. I have had to injections in my spinal cord area which were very expensive but brought relief. I am on 300 mg. Gabapentin twice a day now along with my RA meds. (Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, Hydroxychloroquine, Gabapentin, Methocarbamol, and Lipitor) for pain that elevates I have available Hydrocodon with acetaminophen, Tramadol and of course ibuprofen (which the doc does not like me taking) I take Ranitidine for stomach issues when I take the ibuprofen. So of course all these meds have side effects and I’m sick to my stomach most of the time. But without them I’m in pain….I have started drinking “golden milk” at bed time. it is loaded with turmeric which reduces inflammation, which is 99% of my problem….I work full time but sometimes it is difficult to get out of bed.

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  • By sonial1t6

    Kerry,
    Two friends with RA are both male. Whenever I have questions, they answered my questions freely, and it was solution-focused. Through UCLA health lectures, I’ve met mostly RA females. We have shared stories and solutions. This latter gender demographic is a reflection of the RA statistics, and that women tend to bond and open up quickly with each other.

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