A Troubling Trend: Rheumatoid Arthritis is on the Rise in Women

Hello, ladies! Today, I’m here to talk to you about a serious trend I’ve noticed.

While I don’t pretend to be a women’s health expert, I want all of you to be and stay healthy. That’s why I need to share with you that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) appears to be attacking far more women than men.

You might think of the typical degenerative joint disease when you hear the word “arthritis”, but rheumatoid arthritis is actually an inflammatory autoimmune condition in which your own immune system starts to attack your joints, making them break down over time.

RA is often symmetrical and bilateral, so it affects both sides of the body to about the same degree. It also targets the middle joints, such as the hand and fingers, which causes deformities in the joints that are considered the hallmark of this condition.

This condition can be lethal and disabling, affecting more than just your joints. According to the Mayo Clinic, RA can impact your eyes, lungs, skin, kidneys, heart, salivary glands, bone marrow, blood vessels and even your nerve tissue (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648).

A study published in the Arthritis and Rheumatism medical journal produced some alarming news regarding women and RA (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20191579/). According to the data, RA now has affected 1.5 million people in the US. Between 1995 and 2007, the number of RA cases rose by 2.5 percent. It now affects 28 out of 100,000 men but 53 out of every 100,000 women. These statistics showed a sudden rise in RA diagnoses in women, but diagnoses for men for the same condition actually fell by 0.5 percent over the same period.

Research is still ongoing in this area to help pinpoint why, exactly, women appear to have such an increased risk of developing RA. In the meantime, early detection and treatment is the key to managing this condition. RA can cause serious swelling, and this swelling is what does a lot of the damage to your body that can be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse later on.

If you have any of the signs or symptoms of RA, which include joint pain, weight loss, fever and fatigue, speak to your doctor about getting evaluated as soon as you can. The earlier you take action, the faster you can receive treatment and learn how to manage this condition.

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