There are many myths about Rheumatoid Arthritis. “Only older people get it”. “Living in a sunnier climate is the answer”. “It’s just aches and pains, isn’t it?”. Just some of the views I’ve heard when telling people that I have RA. I was delighted to hear that the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society in the UK is holding its first ever Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week to raise awareness of the disease, focusing on the fact that young people get it too.
This is such an important message to get out there – that RA can strike at any age, that it’s an autoimmune disease and is not the same as osteoarthritis. They’ve asked people to share their infographics this week – so here is one to bust those myths. I have to admit, before I was diagnosed three years ago with RA, I did not know that there are about 200 types of arthritis, or that women are 3 times as likely as men to have RA.
One of the most dismissive comments recently was “it’s not life-threatening, is it?”, showing a complete lack of awareness of what it’s like to live with a chronic illness like this. It may not be, but it can potentially be very serious. That’s one of the reasons why any kind of publicity is welcome. Just a bit more understanding would help everyone, as most people know someone who has RA.