A couple of weeks ago when I wrote an article on a foundation that is promoting an understanding of this disease through Rheumatoid Awareness Day I promised that I would talk more about this misunderstood “arthritis” disease process.
Rheumatoid Arthrtis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation, which, in turn, causes arthritis pain in the joint. But the reality is much more complicated.
It’s important to understand that rheumatoid arthritis comes from the blood. As Dr. Daniel Arkfeld, a rheumatologist at the University of Southern California’s Keck Medical Center, explains “It’s a trafficking of immune factors in the blood that go to the joints. The disease doesn’t start in the joints; it’s really in the blood.”
This means that RA doesn’t affect just the joints. Actually the heart, lungs, eyes and other parts of the body are also affected by the inflammation.
“That’s what can gives RA patients the flu-like symptoms, the fatigue, the malaise that occurs with it, so it’s very much a systemic inflammatory condition,” said Dr. Arkfeld.
The rheumatoid experience
You can begin to understand how profoundly crippling R.A. is by hearing about it directly from someone who has it. Arlene Grau learned she learned she had the condition right around her 23rd birthday.
“I had no idea what it was,” Arlene says. “I was like, OK – I know what arthritis is. Old people get that, you know?”
But Arlene would soon learn that R.A. was painfully different. “Excruciating” is the word she uses: joint pain, joint swelling, skin nodules – all of which played a role in sending her to the hospital at least 10 times last year alone.
“I can’t remember ever being normal, or painless, or pain-free,” said Grau.
On top of that, the mother of two says her R.A. is often met with indifference. One thing that especially bothers her is when people say she “looks fine.”
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that debilitates but doesn’t destroy – it hammers away with constant pain, but not so it’s apparent to others.
Managing activities of daily living can be a major concern for sufferers of RA. Any simple thing that will help is appreciated. That’s where the ergonomic pen comes in.
Just being able to pick up a pen and write without discomfort can be a source of pleasure. The UGLee Pen is scientifically designed to do just that.