Monday, June 8, 2009

Can You Die From RA?

I just read the newest post from one of the blogs I'm following and I wanted to share what this woman wrote. The link is below and she has several links with-in her blog. Many people are unclear about what RA really is and Kelly has put it in perspective very plainly. It's not just sore, worn-down joints likeyou see in Osteo Arthritis. Sure, sore joints happen but mostly due to inflamation of connective tissues. I still have all my cartalige but I have all the joint pains as if it had worn down like in OA. I bet my grandma and her OA can beat me to the top of a flight of stairs most days. RA is an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system actually turns on the body and attacks it. It effects more than joints. It effects the whole body.

While Kelly's blog is fabulous, one other thing that should be mentioned is medication. While there have been great advances in treatments for RA, three facts still remain.....

1. The medications must be done with a "trial and error" mentality. You don't know what will and won't work and how well a drug will work and for how long it will work. You also don't know if maybe you need a combo therapy (more than one drug working together.....I was on 3 just months ago). It could take over a year to find the right treatment.

2. While there are treatments that can be successful, there may also be a price to pay, namely with another illness caused by the RA treatment. In all honesty, no drug we take is without its consequences. While they are very successful, RA treatments are also dangerous, the least of which is liver damage. Let's not mention blood disorders, heart problems, cancers.......If a treatment is giving negative side effects, it will have to be stopped and the patient has to start over again from scratch.

3. Since in RA the body is under attack by the immune system, the meds used to treat RA supress the immune system. So how do you fight a cold with no immune system? You really can't fight it properly. So what can happen? Quite plainly...a common cold could kill you. Is it likely? Maybe not. But is it possible? Yup. Come to my classroom during cold season and see paranoia up close! Yeah, I've had a pneumo-vax and flu shot but it's not a guarantee.

Still, Kelly's post really shouts it out that this isn't your grandparents' arthritis.

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