Every year, hundreds of Americans seek rheumatoid arthritis care in facilities such as RedRiver Health and Wellness Center, but this number may just be a fraction of how many are truly suffering from this autoimmune disease.
How Many Have RA in the U.S.?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition characterized by the inflammation of the synovial joint. This leads to chronic and painful symptoms, such as joint stiffness, redness, and swelling. Depending on the severity, the pain can last for months.
Unfortunately, the condition is more common than what people think. It affects more than 1.3 million people in the United States. At least 40 in every 100,000 people receive the diagnosis annually. Besides adults, the condition can affect children, particularly about 300,000 of them.
Rheumatoid arthritis also doesn’t choose a gender, although it’s more common among women. They are more than twice likely to develop the condition, and the onset of the symptoms can also begin significantly early.
Among those who develop this autoimmune disease, at least 80% have rheumatoid factor, but the condition can also present itself even without the antibodies present.
The Effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is a debilitating condition. In a Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine study published in 2015, workers who have the disease missed about two weeks’ worth of work. On the average, a healthy individual could be absent for less than 10 days.
With the constant pain, the person may not be able to move more frequently and might require a higher insurance coverage. All these factors can affect their productivity, efficiency, and contribution to the organization, more so that businesses could lose over $200 million because of these absences.
People with RA also tend to have a much-shortened lifespan by as much as 15 years. The condition can lead to different complications, including diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer such as lymphoma.
If there’s a glimmer of hope, it’s that the United States has already done amazing things to help the condition as bearable as possible. Many can already live beyond their 80s and 90s. One of the keys is regular monitoring and customized treatment as pain and experience can vary.