How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Millennials?

Rheumatoid arthritis(RA) is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s own healthy tissues. The lining of your joints is primarily affected causing painful swelling, eventually leading to joint deformities and bone erosion. Many times, when we hear anything associated with the word ‘arthritis,’ we imagine an elderly person struggling with the condition. However, rheumatoid arthritis can develop in people of all ages, even as young as 20.

In total, around 54 million people have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Out of these 54 million, a whopping 8 million are millennials. Those affected by RA may experience symptoms like tender, swollen joints that may be worse in the morning or after activities, fevers, fatigue, and even weight loss. Early stages of the disease usually affect smaller joints first, like those in the hands in feet. As the disease progresses, hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles can all be affected. The disease can even have an effect on parts of the body like: eyes, heart, skin, kidneys, etc.

So, why are so many young people developing this disease? One major player in the blame game is technology. There’s almost constantly a text message being sent on a mobile phone gripped in our hands. We frantically type away on a keyboard in front of us, or hold a controller of a video game for hours on end. Technology has made it the standard for us to constantly have something in hand, preforming a repetitive motion. Unfortunately, this puts tremendous stress on the joints in our hands, and is a precursor for developing some form of arthritis.

Another reason so many millennials may be developing RA is the intense and excessive workouts that many are opting to do, like CrossFit. Muscles are getting used a lot more for much longer periods, which in turn has an effect on the joints. Dull aches in may start to develop in joints, or even a feeling of being frozen in which you can’t squeeze something or move a particular way.

While RA typically affects two to three times more women than men, many men are still diagnosed with this disease each year. So much about the disease is still unknown, however some risk factors have been indicated, like smoking and obesity.

If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, studies are enrolling now. Qualified participants have access to potential new RA medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, learn more about this exciting research opportunity by clicking HERE.