Affinity Health Dispels The Biggest Myths About Rheumatoid Arthritis
In support of Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day on 29 March, Affinity Health sets out to dispel the biggest myths about this painful and physically disabling disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that affects almost one in every 100 adults worldwide, with women more likely to suffer RA. Symptoms start showing between the ages of 30 and 50 and, without the proper treatment, can progress to damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
Despite what some may believe, RA is not the same as osteoarthritis. It is not a disease reserved only for the elderly. In fact, there are many cases of children under the age of 16 living with the condition.
RA occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues and affects the lining of your joints, causing swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. On the other hand, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time.
“Another big misconception is that rheumatoid arthritis only affects your joints, mainly your knees, fingers, and/or toes. This is untrue,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“About 40 percent of people who have RA also experience signs and symptoms that don’t involve the joints, such as blood clots, kidney problems, inflammation of the heart lining, mouth sores, inflammation of the whites of the eyes, brittle bones, and lumps of tissue under the skin.”
Another myth is that RA can be cured. Sadly, it cannot. While signs and symptoms may go into periods of remission, the swelling and pain can reappear at any time. The good news is that treatments for RA have improved greatly in recent years, with numerous options available from anti-inflammatory drugs to surgery.
Lastly, is the misconception that fasting or adopting an extremely low-calorie diet can improve the symptoms of RA. Despite the rumours, there is no concrete proof that starving your body stops RA, nor proof that certain foods aggravate your symptoms or trigger a flare-up.
“As with so many other difficult-to-understand diseases, there will always be fallacies about AR, which is why it’s important to talk to your health care provider, who will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you make an informed decision about your treatment options,” concludes Hewlett.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.