10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

I’m not just writing this article as an advocate for RA; I’m also a patient. I was diagnosed in 2004 after experiencing several years of diffuse symptoms and illnesses which doctors couldn’t seem to string together as being autoimmune-related.

By not beginning treatment early on, my chances for any remission in my disease were significantly reduced. In fact, within five years of my diagnosis, I was forced to leave my career job and file for permanent disability.

There are many misconceptions about RA, so I wanted to help raise awareness about it. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not your grandmother’s arthritis. It’s not caused by wear and tear or injury to the joints. You can’t eat gin soaked raisins or Jell-O and be cured. It’s a chronic, systemic disease with periods of higher disease activity, called “flares,” and periods of little to no activity, considered clinical remission.

Unfortunately, the vast majority are not able to achieve remission that lasts for any extended period, if at all. Many are chronic; constantly in some level of a flare. So, let’s explore some facts about RA that most people don’t know:

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