Although we know well that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder or linked to the abnormality of immune system, but actually this systemic inflammatory joint disease is not fully understood yet. This may be one of reasons of why there are lots of myths associated with it.
Myth#1: RA is a normal part of aging
Although RA is commonly found at the ages of 40 and 60 years old, but experts say that it is not a part of aging. Even in osteoarthritis or OA (an arthritis that is closely related to wear and tear cartilage as the age), age factor has an effect but it doesn’t work alone since not all elderly people develop OA.
Overall, you will not develop RA simply as a result of your aging. Currently, no one knows why the overactive immune system attacks the joints and causes inflammation, though there are some theories.
Gender can have a role in determining your risk, too. The risk for women to develop RA is greater than men. In fact, it attacks more women than men!
Myth#2: There is nothing you can do to cope with RA
Currently, RA still doesn’t have a cure. However, this doesn’t mean that there are no any effective treatments to cope with it.
So far it is incurable condition, but it can be treated and controlled. There are some effective treatments to control it and prevent it from getting worse. Even the use of new medications such as biologic agents can help make it go into remission.
Taking the appropriate initial treatments for RA is so crucial. Some experts believe that the first 2 years after the symptom onset is very crucial and may play a key role in determining the outlook and prognosis. See more this issue in this post!
And along with your prescription medications, some lifestyle changes can help for coping, too. See also home remedies and lifestyle approaches to help cope with RA in here!
Hopefully someday there will be a cure for this disease. Meanwhile, some studies are continuously going in all over the world.
Myth#3: RA affects the joint locally and doesn’t affect your overall health!
If this statement for osteoarthritis, you are not wrong. But the same thing doesn’t go for rheumatoid condition such as RA. Since it involves the abnormality of the body immune system, the effect of the disease can target other organs /parts of the body, not only joint.
In other words, it can cause much damage outside of the joints. The serious conditions could occur when it affects internal organs, such as blood vessels – causing serious complications such as heart diseases, lung problems (like pulmonary fibrosis), or problems of the eyes.
So it’s very important to make the inflammatory process of RA under control, otherwise the disease can cause complications like aforementioned problems.
Myth#4: It can be contagious!
Rheumatoid conditions are systemic and can spread throughout the body. But they don’t spread to other people. RA is not contagious, too – see more this issue in here!
Since there is something goes awry with immune system in RA, some treatments are intended to target particular parts of the immune system. Taking these treatments may make you easier to have infections.