Who Is At Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

I regularly receive e-newsletters about RA.  The most recent newsletter from WebMD had a link to “see who is at risk for this condition.”  I clicked, searched, and found this:

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common rheumatic disease, affecting approximately 1.3 million people in the United States, according to current census data. The disease is three times more common in women as in men. It afflicts people of all races equally. The disease can begin at any age, but it most often starts after age 40 and before 60. In some families, multiple members can be affected, suggesting a genetic basis for the disorder.

Exactly how is this statement helpful? 

  • “Three times more common in women as in men. ” So women are at risk, and men are at risk.  That doesn’t narrow it down much.
  • “It can begin at any age.”  That doesn’t exclude anyone.  In fact, people can be affected at age 3 or age 80. Or any other age.
  • “It afflicts people of all races equally.”  Hmmm…
  • “In some families, multiple members can be affected.”  In other families, it’s a fluke.  There appears to be a genetic link, but many people with no autoimmune disease in their family history end up with RA.  People who do have a family history of autoimmune diseases still have a very small chance of developing RA.

This statement used a lot of words to say nothing at all.  The fact is that doctors do not know what causes rheumatoid arthritis.  So far as we know, EVERYONE is at risk for RA, and there is nothing you can do to reduce your chances of getting this disease.  Life isn’t always fair.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
But learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver lint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst,
That you must not quit.

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