Rheumatoid Arthritis Takes Toll On Young Adults

By JANE E. ALLEN, ABC News Medical Unit
June 16, 2011

In the summer between high school and college, Angela Lundberg saw a life full of possibilities turn into one of limitations when doctors explained that the pain that had started in her feet and spread to her fingers came from rheumatoid arthritis.

“The only person I knew who had it was my grandma and she got it when she was in her 60s, I think,” the Minneapolis native, now 32, recalled. “The day I was diagnosed, I remember going home from the doctor’s office and crying alone in my room thinking about my grandmother’s ugly twisted fingers and collapsed knuckles. Was that also my fate at age 18?”

Although Lundberg had no idea that the complicated and incurable disease could strike in the prime of life, a surprising number of the 1.3 million Americans with rheumatoid arthritis are young adults from 18 to 40. These are prime years for building careers and having children, when they can hardly afford to have plans disrupted.

Watch video and read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ArthritisAdvice/rheumatoid-arthritis-takes-toll…

Thanks to @letsmove2gether for the hat-tip!

Wow, this is the second really informative article that I’ve seen this past week in the main stream media. (Here’s the first.) It’s great to see that the discussion is going beyond the usual simple details, and it’s particularly nice to see emphasis placed on the young age of many people who live with rheumatoid arthritis!

6 Comments
6 comments
  1. RA Guy says:

    “Young adult patients easily slip between the cracks because, frequently, they don’t look sick, even as the disorder inflames and then chews up the lining of their joints and silently ravages their eyes, damages their hearts and scars their lungs.”

  2. Laurie says:

    I have a strong family history of RA. I would volunteer to drive my grandpa to his doctor for his gold shots. I watched him shrink from over 6 feet tall to less than 5’6. When I started having pain in my late teens it was always attributed to something else.

    I don’t have lots of deformities 30 years later, but now I have collateral damage from RA involving my eyes, lungs and heart. Besides the physical impact, there is damage to my psyche and my wallet. I try not to be bitter, but as I sit home sidelined for the last 5 months with lung and heart issues, I am glad that at least RA is starting to get some national exposure other than the “miracle drug” commercials on TV.

  3. Gabriela - Living La Vida Normal says:

    I was diagnosed at 27 and one of the most frustrating things for me has been the lack of support for young people with RA. People always assume that only old people get RA, that I should just suck it up and deal with it because I’m young. Yes, I’m young I’ll be 34 on Saturday but no one has lived in my body these past 7 years dealing with what I’ve been dealing with.

  4. Kenneth Hardy says:

    Like other diseases, RA is almost always overlooked when it comes to diagnosing it in young adults. There’s a myth that only the elderly get these types of diseases. I’m glad the main street media are sharing this with the public…

  5. Joseph says:

    Interesting article, I was diagnosed at 11 and I’m 22 now. There’s almost no support for young adults out there (only on the Internet) and looking back I or my family were never informed of the exact details of the condition upon diagnosis. I’ve never met anyone my age with RA, only those considerably older then I and they have been few and far between.
    The Internet was my, and I suspect many other young adults saviour in finding support and information. That includes blogs such as yours RA Guy & RAwarrior.

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