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What Is Rheumatic Diseases?

What Is Rheumatic Diseases? - Kneevo™

What Is Rheumatic Diseases?

Life-changing, painful, deforming, costly, crippling, deadly — these are serious words to describe serious diseases. Contrary to notions that “aches and pains” are just a normal part of aging, the intense joint pain, swelling, stiffness and fatigue experienced by people with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, often occur in people who are in the prime of their lives and often abruptly interrupt education, careers,child-rearing and other essential daily activities.

Rheumatic diseases are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that cause the immune system to attack a person’s joints, muscles, bones and cause damage to vital organs, including the lungs, heart, nervous system, kidneys, skin and eyes.

Rheumatic diseases are often lumped under the term arthritis — a term used to describe over 100 diseases and conditions. Under this umbrella of arthritis, there are over 30 inflammatory rheumatic diseases, including RA, lupus, gout, scleroderma, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, spondylarthritides, polymyalgia rheumatica, and several forms of systemic vasculitis (including giant cell arteritis). This list does not include the most common form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis, which results in a breakdown of bone and cartilage in joints rather than inflammation.

Millions of adults

Over 11 million American adults suffer from inflammatory rheumatic diseases, 1.3 million adults have RA, and between 161,000 and 322,000 adults have lupus. The disease most often begins between the ages of 30 and 50. However, RA can start at any age.

Hundreds-of-thousands of children

Nearly 300,000 American children suffer from rheumatic diseases, the most common of which is juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which can cause the same types of pain, disability and co-existing diseases that adults with rheumatic diseases often experience. Approximately one in every 250 children in the U.S. has some form of rheumatic disease or arthritis.

One in 12 women

About 75% of RA patients are women. During their lifetime, 8.4 percent of women will develop a rheumatic disease. Women are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with RA and nine out of 10 people who have lupus are women.

One in 20 men

Five percent of men in the U.S. will develop a rheumatic disease during their lifetime.

Strike in the prime of life

Inflammatory rheumatic diseases often strike people in the prime of their lives. For example, RA often develops between the ages of 35-50 and lupus between the ages of 15-44. However, RA can start at any age.

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