One of the challenges of receiving a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is that very few people know what it is. Rheumatologists recognize that, and are starting an educational campaign. The International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) is also working to educate the public. Part of that education is addressing falsehoods that appear in the media.
A national television show recently stated that obesity can have medical complications, “including rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and heart attack.” This, obviously, is false. Obesity is not a risk factor for RA.
Since this is not a show I watch, I was hesitant to get involved, however there is now a transcript online confirming that he did, in fact, say “rheumatoid arthritis.” I even grabbed a screenshot in case they decide to take the page down (as has happened with other websites in the past). A link to the show’s transcript is here.
I’d love to see a retraction and accurate information presented. This could actually be a great opportunity to spread the word about the distinction between osteoarthritis and autoimmune arthritis.
Please email the show asking for a retraction of the erroneous information. If you’re not sure what to say, a sample letter can be found on IAAM’s Facebook page.
You can also leave comments on the show’s webpage. Be courteous; anyone can make a mistake – it’s how people respond to their mistakes that shows their true character.
Help spread the word that RA is not the same as OA.