Despite the prevalance of the disease, many myths about rheumatoid arthritis persist. We explore 7 misconceptions about the disease.
Although rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is widespread, affecting an estimated 1.5 million Americans,1 many myths surround the disease. As a clinician, it’s important to be aware of misconceptions your patients might have about this chronic condition.
Myth #1: RA is just a part of aging
Some patients mistakenly assume RA is just a part of getting older, no different than graying hair. The fact is, RA affects people of all ages. While the disease typically presents between the ages of 30 and 60, it can be seen in young adults, teens, and even children.2
Myth #2: RA and osteoarthritis are virtually one and the same
Some patients conflate osteoarthritis (OA) and RA. Although both conditions involve joint pain, they are distinct types of arthritis with different causes. Whereas OA is the product of wear and tear on the joints, RA has nothing to do with how the joints age. Rather, it is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints and surrounding tissue.3
Myth #3: RA only affects the joints
The first symptoms of RA are typically joint pain and swelling, but the disease can affect the lungs, heart, blood vessels, and other parts of the body as it progresses. More than 50% of people with RA experience high levels of fatigue.4 Causes of fatigue include disease activity, pain, inflammation, inactivity, and poor sleep.
|Read on: 7 Myths About Rheumatoid Arthritis|