This post is part of a paid sponsorship by Regeneron and Sanofi. All opinions are my own and are not medical advice. If you have any questions about your condition, please consult your healthcare professional.
As a Nurse, I’ve worked with many patients diagnosed with RA. This debilitating joint disease is extremely painful and an unfortunate diagnosis. If you’ve heard of RA but aren’t sure exactly what a diagnosis of RA is; RA is Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s joints instead of attacking foreign substances like bacteria or viruses. So, the body turns on itself and does not function properly or effectively. Those diagnosed and affected by RA feel chronic and intense pain in the joints.
One of my current patients is an 80-year-old widow and mother of four, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of four. She was diagnosed with RA over 15 years ago right around the time she decided to retire and help take care of her grandkids. She often shares with me her personal difficulties living with RA. Most days she stays in the house walking with the assistance of a walker but prior to her RA diagnosis she considered herself to be very active. She played Bingo twice weekly at a local Senior Recreation center, attended religious services and volunteered at the VA hospital. Now, because of the constant joint pain and difficulty walking she only leaves the house with assistance to go to doctor’s appointments. The once active octogenarian is now home bound and says she experiences chronic joint pain daily despite the multiple medications she takes and has taken since her diagnosis.
Sadly, my patient’s story is not unique. A survey on RA revealed eight in ten people living with RA report that they experience pain daily or multiple times a week. Arthritis is a common disease that most people associate with old age and the elderly, but there are different types of arthritis. When asked about what she misses most about her life, my patient replied, “getting out and doing what I love to do, seeing people.” The survey also revealed even after treatment, nearly two-thirds say their pain keeps them away from daily activities and celebrations. A majority (74%) of patients said their treatments don’t always work as well as they would like.