Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rheumatoid Arthritis Day - yesterday

Yesterday was Rheumatoid Arthritis Day. I missed it. I have a track record for missing all my medical ailment days. At least I am consistent. But RA is not a fun ailment.

Rheumatoid arthritis is different than osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the kind you get from overuse of your joints - like too much tennis or running. Rheumatoid is the autoimmune kind where your body body's immune system attacks your joints. And if you are lucky like me, you get both kinds.

30 years ago patients were told to take aspirin for the pain and the focus was not on treating the disease but the symptoms. Now patients are treated aggressively so that there is less chance of deformation in your joints - translate that to less likely to need a wheel chair in the long term.

I feel somewhat knowledgeable about RA as my mother has had it since 1989. But it wasn't my body so that I didn't know that much. Clearly I wasn't walking the walk so I can't talk the talk. Once again the clear difference between being a patient and not being one.

The longer I have it, the more I realize I do not know about it. For example, I do not understand the biologics. I mean I know what they do and how they work, but I do not know about the differences between them. One thing I do know about them is that if you have had cancer, they do not like to prescribe them to you. So I may never get them. And therefore never learn much about them. 

I also know it usually starts with the small joints of your hands and feet and it is usually parallel - meaning if it affects one hand, it affects the other. Both sides of your body at the same time - just so you have more fun. I know from your hands and feet it moves to larger joints - like elbows and knees. But I am not sure about hips and shoulders as much- so that may be my osteo kicking in.

So anyway, I missed Rheumatoid Arthritis Day. So to celebrate today, I will go see my knee doctor and find out what's going on there.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Dear Caroline,

It's ok!

Also, I wonder where you read it was called Rheumatoid "Arthritis" Awareness Day. The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation established Rheumatoid Awareness Day to distinguish it as a systemic disease that's not a type of arthritis since that's more medically accurate. Arthritis is only one symptom.

If you'd like to participate in a Rheumatoid Awareness Day blog carnival, you can write a post about one of the 7 Facts published by RPF for this year, and email the link to me. Either way don't worry about being a day late. I'll probably publish the carnival at the end of the week. We are still working on awareness every day.


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