10 Rheumatoid Arthritis Facts and Tips
- An estimated 1.3 million people living in the US have rheumatoid arthritis (RA)1—that's about 1% of the population.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that your immune system turns against itself. No one knows what causes autoimmune disorders, but they may be linked to genetics and even bacteria or viruses.
- Anyone can develop rheumatoid arthritis, even children. When children have rheumatoid arthritis, it’s called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
- Older woman are more likely to be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. There are nearly 3 times as many women as men with this condition. In women, rheumatoid arthritis most commonly begins between 30 and 60 years old.1
- Common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include chronic pain, joint inflammation, morning stiffness, fatigue, and weakness. But with RA, you can have many other symptoms. Some people have numerous symptoms, while others only have a few RA symptoms.
- No one knows what exactly causes rheumatoid arthritis. However, researchers think it may be linked to certain genetic markers (such as HLA-DR4), stress, infections or viruses, smoking, and even your immune system.
- There’s usually a pattern with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. For example, if your left wrist has symptoms, your right wrist will be affected, too.
- Eating a healthy diet—one that includes fruits vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids—can significantly help you manage rheumatoid arthritis.
- Managing your stress (perhaps with regular massage or a warm bath) and getting enough sleep can help you manage rheumatoid arthritis.
- Physical therapy and regular exercise are important parts of rheumatoid arthritis treatment. For maximum benefits, try to incorporate aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises as part of a regular exercise routine. Yoga, Pilates, and light walking are good exercise choices for rheumatoid arthritis.
Updated on: 04/16/12