Rheumatoid arthritis: test your knowledge

True or False?

1. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder.

2. The average age of onset for RA is the mid-60s.

3. RA can affect the cardiovascular system as well as the joints.

4. Pregnancy may trigger rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Women are more prone to RA than men are.

6. Physiotherapy is the best early treatment for RA

7. Fish oil, because of its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to slow the course of RA.

8. Doctors now think osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may be the same disorder.

ANSWERS:

1. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder. TRUE
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder i.e. the immune system attacks itself. In RA, it attacks the lining of the joints especially, which leads to inflammation.

2.
The average age of onset for RA is the mid-60s. FALSE
Mid-60s is the average age for someone with RA, but onset (i.e. when it first develops) is usually between age 25 and 50.

3. RA can affect the cardiovascular system as well as the joints. TRUE
Although RA is primarily a joint disease, it can cause inflammation throughout the body, including the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in people with RA.

4. Pregnancy may trigger rheumatoid arthritis. FALSE
Pregnancy has not been shown to raise risk for developing RA. Smoking, on the other hand, does raise risk.

5.Women are more prone to RA than men are. TRUE
Both genders can get RA, but women are about 2-3 times more likely to develop the disorder.


6.
Physiotherapy is the best early treatment for RA. FALSE
Medication is the most important aspect of early treatment for RA, as it may help prevent joint damage. Physiotherapy and modest exercise are also recommended to maintain mobility.

7. Fish oil, because of its high content of omega-3, has been shown to slow the course of RA. FALSE
There isn't sufficient evidence that fish oil supplementation slows the course of RA; however, studies show that it may help ease symptoms in some cases. Always ask your doctor before taking any dietary or over-the-counter medication, in case it interacts with prescription drugs.


8.
Doctors now think osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may be the same disorder. FALSE
RA is not related to osteoarthritis, although some symptoms may be similar. RA is an autoimmune disease, while osteoarthritis (the most common kind of arthritis) is characterised by breakdown of cartilage through wear and tear on the joints.

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