Rheumatoid arthritis has invisible symptoms leading to late diagnosis

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Rheumatoid arthritis has invisible symptoms leading to late diagnosis

A survey conducted by Health Union among 3,100 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) showed that the initial symptoms of RA often remain invisible. Majority of patients report painful joints and stiffness and some may experience some uncommon like fatigue and soreness.

According to a recent survey, 87% of respondents reported painful joints, 68% joint stiffness and 64% both. In addition, respondents reported other unseen symptoms such as fatigue  (60%), general stiffness, soreness or aching throughout the body (58%).

Symptoms of RA can be caused by the variety of other conditions. Carla Kienast explained that “In my case, I had badly swollen elbow and was referred not to a rheumatologist, but to an orthopedic surgeon. The continuing pain and swelling led to a surgery that I probably didn’t need. It wasn’t until a second orthopedic surgeon finally referred me to a rheumatologist a few years later that I was finally diagnosed and started receiving treatment.”

Early symptoms of RA may be invisible which can significantly affect a person’s quality of life by interfering with  the ability to exercise or physical activity (77%), ability to perform family and/or household duties (71%), sleep (68%), and ability to work (62%).

It was reported that about 95% employ at least one complementary therapy such as vitamins, exercise or heat therapy, and 80% changed utilized a special diet to tackle all these problems.

"There's no denying that RA presents some significant challenges when it comes to following the dreams and living the life I want, so I think the most significant lifestyle change I have made has been a mental one," says RA patient advocate Mariah Zebrowski Leach. "I have accepted the realities of RA as a part of my life, but I haven't allowed RA to be the determining factor when it comes to achieving my goals. I like to say; I have RA , it doesn't have me!"

According to Tim Armand, President and co-founder of Health Union, "The fact that so many RA patients struggle with misunderstood invisible symptoms illustrates the need for a site like rheumatoidarthritis.net. It is a place where people with RA can come together for support."

In addition, it serves as a critical resource for the RA community to learn from each other and find the latest treatment information.


Health Union

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Original title of the article:

Invisible rheumatoid arthritis symptoms hinder quality of life, diagnosis

Exploratory, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Pain, Joints
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