Why Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Young People?

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… Continued …

As written before – in general, rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women. Even in young patients, it also occurs more often in women.

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The greater incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in young women than in young men may interpret the greater role of hormones along with genetic and environmental factors. But this opinion is still debatable.

It’s not easy to cope with the disease for young patients

Young patients with this inflammatory arthritis easily slip between the cracks since many times they don’t look sick! They may still look healthy even though the disease is continuously progressing and causing damage outside the joint (see more RA complications in here)!

Another problem, frequently, most young people think that they are invincible. They also have poor experience in health care system.

The bad news, having RA at the ages of 20s means that the disease has a lot of years to develop, causing more damage and complications. So, it’s important for young people with RA to carefully control the disease.

And overall, living with chronic condition such as RA for young people can be emotionally difficult.

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The ages of 20s are the gold period for many major life events such as starting a family and having a child, establishing a career, or finishing school. And if you have RA, the disease may affect the way of how you go through a period of these life events.

Another challenging thing, there is poor in peer support. Many times, young patients often find other patients with RA who are far older, making them more depressed.

Is there anything you can do to prevent the disease? Currently, RA is unpreventable and incurable.

But since the disease in young sufferers has plenty of time to progress and cause serious complications, aggressive treatments may be required (especially in the first two years after the diagnosis).

It’s thought that the initial treatment after the symptom onset is so crucial to determine the prognosis and reduce the risk of damage in the joint. See more this issue in this section!

Citations /references:

Mayo Clinic, Cynthia Crowson, MS – biostatistician and RA researcher: March 2011; vol 63: pp 633-639, Crowder, C. Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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