Beginning tomorrow, February 2 will have far more meaning than whether Punxsutawny Phil or Buckeye Chuck sees their shadows. Thanks to the efforts of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF), the public will have the opportunity to learn about the devastating effects of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through the organization’s first Rheumatoid Arthritis Day. Stories posted on social media have underscored the impact RA has on patients’ lives.
While joint pain is a symptom of RA, it is not the same disease process as osteoarthritis. RA is progressive, inflammatory and disabling. It can affect joint and organ tissues. Patients with RA have a higher risk of stroke, atrial fibrillation and silent heart attack. As one person posted on social media, “It’s such a struggle on a daily basis for those of us with this disease and to have those around us say, ‘I know how you feel, I’ve got a little arthritis in my finger or toe or wherever.’ This is so much more than just arthritis.”
Most people are thrown by the word arthritis, thinking—joint pain. RA is far more than that. I’ve seen the crippling effects on my mother, the whittling away at her quality of life, the constant pain that showed in her eyes.
Join RPF in its mission to spread the word about RA and the need for continuing research and accessibility for treatment.