About 1% of the American population lives with this condition. Out of those 1.5 million people, 2 to 3 times as many women than men develop RA. 70% of people with RA are women (
The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) established the day in 2013 to help raise awareness for all of the people who live with pain and misunderstandings about this chronic condition on a daily basis.
Studies have shown that a lack of public education and awareness can lead to delays in seeking medical advice, which can result in inadequate treatment.
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Myths and Misconceptions About Rheumatoid Arthritis
The biggest myth surrounding rheumatoid arthritis is that it is a type of arthritis, and not an immune system disease. It has more in common with multiple sclerosis and lupus. It’s not that similar to osteoarthritis. Autoimmune diseases may never go away, cause severe disability, negatively impact the quality of life, and are more likely to decrease longevity.
Another misconception about rheumatoid disease is that the people who have the disease must somehow be to blame for it or are imagining or exaggerating their symptoms. According to experts, there is a public health message today that people need to take charge of their well-being, and an unfortunate side effect of that is that many people now believe that chronic diseases must somehow be behavior based. That the person who has the disease is doing something to make it happen, be worse, or not improve. But that’s really not true. Autoimmune diseases are not generally caused by lifestyle choices.
Origin of Rheumatoid Awareness Day
The official name of the day does not include the word ‘arthritis’ because RPF is campaigning to refer to the medical condition by the more traditional term that’s used in medical literature. They chose the month of February for the awareness day because it is Heart Disease Month, and the two diseases are closely linked. Research has found that people with RA under age 45 had an almost threefold increased risk of cardiovascular disease death compared with the general population. This could be because of the high-grade, systemic inflammation that goes along with RA (3✔ ✔Trusted Source
Causes of Death in Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Do They Compare to the General Population?
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Rheumatoid Disease is Not Just Arthritis
Not just heart diseases, it is well-known that rheumatic diseases increase the risks for developing a variety of other health conditions.
The most common RA comorbidity is cardiovascular disease, but the condition is also associated with several specific cardiovascular issues, including heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, and atherosclerosis. Some studies even suggest the heart risks associated with RA are comparable with those linked to diabetes. It is important for people with rheumatoid disease to work with their doctors to assess their heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking, and reduce them. Osteoporosis, or low bone density, as well as mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are also common in people with RA (4✔ ✔Trusted Source
Does rheumatoid arthritis equal diabetes mellitus as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease? A prospective study
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How You can be a Part of Rheumatoid Awareness Day
Knowledge is Power
The first step in spreading awareness is educating ourselves. It can help us provide helpful information to others. Take the time to catch up on the latest research and news to update yourself with new information regarding RA.
Arrange Medical Camps if Possible
Arrange a medical camp to diagnose RA. You can create a campaign and invite people from your community. If you are unable to do all of this on your own, you can still help by volunteering at a medical camp.
Make Use of Social Media
Share information through social media. Foundations like RPF would have the required information and statistics in case a Google search could not help you.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – (https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and More – (https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/rheumatoid-arthritis)
- Causes of Death in Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Do They Compare to the General Population? – (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29512334/)
- Does rheumatoid arthritis equal diabetes mellitus as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease? A prospective study – (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19877093/)
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