The Spread of Misinformation

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.

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6 thoughts on “The Spread of Misinformation

  1. Throwing my hands up in the air (OK I am doing this in my mind but you get the idea) and sighing very loudly. When will this end and when can we at last focus on finding a cure for this disease rather then battling these types of comments. Argh! Email has been sent already to them.

  2. This just makes me very sad. I am so tired of people misunderstanding ra and confusing it with oa. When I was first diagnosed at 27 I didn’t see this as much. Now that I am in my early 50′s and friends are starting to get a touch of oa I hear this kind of stuff all the time. I finally put the statement on my email signature that RA is an autoimmune disease and I put a link to IAAM’s website. Not to subtle but I think it is time we do this in hopes of spreading correct information.

  3. As Founder and CEO of the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement, let me just personally send a HUGE THANK YOU to you Warm Socks for reposting this and encouraging everyone to send a letter. IAAM started this rally Monday night and I THINK we may just hit our goal of 500 emails! IAAM is just one organization working to create a platform for all voices to be heard…without the voices to be heard this may not happen. So thank you to you, your readers and everyone who is supporting this mission for a public retraction!

  4. …Replied By on Sep 29 2011 10 25AM…I was very dismayed to hear Doctor Phil tell the mother of the overweight child in the episode Overweight or Underfed that she was setting the child up for various adult diseases to include rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2003 after suffering years of recurring systemic infections sinuses kidney pancreatitis kidney stones etc. which then began to include rashes after being out in the sun recurring fevers and flu-like symptoms for days on end weight LOSS without trying to lose weight and drenching night sweats. Prior to this I had been an athlete for over 20 years running 5-6 miles a day teaching aerobics competing in archery rollerblading and spending lots of time actively playing outdoors as a single mom.Rheumatoid Arthritis is an Autoimmune Arthritis.

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