Thursday, June 18, 2009

Do Men Get Rheumatoid Arthritis, Too?

Do Guys Get RA Too?

I have always thought how wretched it is that Rheumatoid Arthritis comes along in the prime years of a woman’s life. She’s either chasing small children or climbing a career ladder. It is heartbreaking that at the time when life is the most demanding, she is disabled. There are no accommodations. No excuses. Nothing can rescue her. Pretty sad, huh?

And then one day, I saw a man who had the same RA that I had. My heart just broke. He stood up the way that I do, pushing off with the elbows. Then, he walked like I do: slow and awkward. So that’s why people stare.

I could overhear him talking with the nurse. He has a family. Oh, my gosh. Of course: he has a family to support. They are counting on him to go to work every single day. And he has no accommodations. No excuses. Nothing to rescue him.

Expectations will be difficult for him to meet - except when they are impossible. His disability will be public. There may be shame and humiliation to go along with horror of the RA diagnosis.

Yes, women are more frequently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis than men – studies say 75-79% of RA-ers are female. And many studies show that women even experience more severe RA than men. But, men are less comfortable asking for help. And there is more shame for them in being weak.

The gender differences are more than skin deep. Men tend to have more involvement with larger joints. They are more likely to have heart damage from RA. But some studies show there may be fewer bone erosions and eye damage. Of course, no man or woman on earth wants to have Rheumatoid Arthritis, regardless of the where it hits.

I would like to recommend two RA blogs which are written from a man’s viewpoint. If you’d like to hear how a man is fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis, check them out: RA Guy and Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis. We will also discuss this on the Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior Facebook page.

So much for the battle between the sexes! Instead, we’ve got a real battle to fight against Rheumatoid Arthritis. This time, we are on the same side.


RA Guy said...

Thank you for helping to add some light to the male experience of living with rheumatoid arthritis!

Kelly said...

:) You are welcome, Guy.

andrew said...

Thanks Kelly for drawing attention to us guys!

Kelly said...

Glad to do it. Not glad it needs to be done...

tharr said...

Kelly, I am one of the "lucky" guys. Why couldn't my luck have hit the lottery instead of RA? I say that I am determined not to let this disease get the best of me but the truth is it pushes me around than I would like to admit. It's hard to give up control of your life and things you enjoy doing but I'm slowly learning to accept it.

Kelly said...

Hey tharr,
So glad to have you aboard!

Have you seen the "men's room" discussion tab on the FB page? For and about guys only. :D