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19 Responses to “5 Reasons Rheumatoid Disease Is a Better Term than Rheumatoid Arthritis”

    1. It is very sad that even some clinical professionals do not understand this disease. I am very thankful for those doctors who do get it.

    2. George says:

      Hi Kelly,
      When I am asked about my Rheumatoid Arthritis I just explain that I have Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease which is different than Rheumatoid Arthritis which affects only the joints. I explain that Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease can effect the heart, lungs and other organs.

      thanks for all the valuable info that you provide


    3. lo says:

      I wish this same concept would be applied to the other types of arthritis, like Psoriatic. There aren’t as many of us as RA patients. I actually just tell people I have RA because they usually at least have an idea that it’s a bum deal. If I told them I have PsA they really have no reference point and the reactions are. Terrible. “I’ve never heard of that. Are you sure that’s a real thing”

      • Erin says:

        I was originally diagnosed with PsA but my current rheumy (same clinic) says I have RA. I don’t know why the change of diagnosis. I haven’t been there in a long time.

        But I too have told people I have RA for the exact same reason.

    4. Jaynie says:

      I agree 100% that the name needs to be changed. And I definitely like “rheumatoid disease” better than “rheumatoid autoimmune disease”, simply because it’s easier to say.

      On another subject, I was at my internist yesterday, and was shocked to learn that she knew almost nothing about methotrexate and its effects on the immune system! I actually had to tell her what it was and exactly why I was taking it. She also did not seem to understand the difference between osteoarthritis and RA. Yet, this woman graduated medical school and has been in general practice for 20 years!

    5. carol says:

      I just read your article and agree 100% with the comment about a dr telling a patient to come back when it affects their hands. I had the same thing happen to me when I went to the Rheumatologist after I was diganoses last year.

    6. Jennifer Wheat says:

      I’m not sure changing the name will help Doctors broaden their horizons. I do know that it helps me, since when I say it people actually ask what it is instead of assuming ortho. My doctor, though a fairly good rheumy, recently told me an area that ached couldn’t be RA because there was no joint there. Um. I asked her to rethink the possibility since I know what my aches feel like and this one was an RA ache. Attachment point of the trapezius is what she decided on, and definitely an inflammation. It is a systematic disease, and inflammation can occur ANYWHERE.


      • Michael Patterson says:

        That’s interesting to hear! 95% of folks I’ve told I have RA to assume that it’s “arthritis”. So to hear you’ve had a different experience is definitely different for me. People think they know what “arthritis” is, so as soon as I mention that word, their ears close, and so do their minds. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the question, “what is rheum arthritis?” after saying rheum arthritis.

        You’re right, we know what RD pain is and when it happens. No matter where it’s at. (I’ve gotten that same reaction about back pain before)

    7. Andrea Frances says:

      Will create less confusion hopefully

    8. Michael Patterson says:

      I just turned to my mom and said, “do you think RA should be called RD (rheumatoid disease) instead?”

      Her response was profound. She doesn’t have the disease btw… “if that’s what it IS, that’s what it should be called.”

      So is it a disease? Yes. Is it “arthritis”? Maybe technically it is CLASSIFIED as a TYPE of arthritis, but what did you think “arthritis” was before you were dx’ed with RD? My grandma had this DISEASE, and I never knew the difference b/w her RD and osteo. She would even say “my aurther is killing me”. So how would I or anyone else ever know that she actually had an auto-immune DISEASE? We wouldn’t and we didn’t. Is that the level of awareness that YOU are looking for? NOT ME! I’ll call it what it IS, a disease.

    9. rosemary says:

      I agree that the term ‘Rheumatiod Disease’ or RD easier to say than Rheumatiod Arthritis Disease. Not only that but the term RAD (in Australia at least) is a daggy and outdated phrase that means ‘cool’ or ‘amazing’. If I used the term RAD I would feel like I’d need to be back in the 80’s with big hair and bright blue eyeshadow. ( Oh wait, that’s back now isn’t it? LOL).

      Also dropping the ‘arthritis’ and adding ‘disease’ really does change the focus and better reflects what we are going through. Hopefully it will help stop the constant battle to distinguish it from OA and open people’s minds a bit.

    10. Sandi says:

      I just found your page thanks to friend at work. I have had RA since 2005 and one of the first things I noticed after beginning treatment was a drastic change in my voice & hearing – but I can’t convince any physician of such. ENT said it’s hereditary (and that I had GERD) when I know of no one in my family that has hearing loss. Would you say that if it can affect your eyes that it could affect your ears?

    11. Teresa says:

      I allways thought it should be Rheumatoid Disease even when everybody was saying RAD. It just makes sense. Its got my vote!

    12. Janet says:

      I will henceforth be calling it Rheumatoid Disease. The medical community will be forced to accept the word, as they have to communicate to the patient in words the patient understands. As an example, most patients refer to veins, and arteries simply as veins. Doctors know this, and don’t bother to correct. And hopefully when the name is widely accepted, it will begin to understood there is more to it than Arthritis.

    13. Cecilia says:

      I like autoimmune in the title. When i get to explaining what the disease is like (from my perspective) to those around me, autoimmune symptoms are more relevant than anything. Even with the meds i take (the costs always get them to sit up), i have fatigue, sudden onsets of localized swelling, numb feet, cold fingers, dryness and so on. Many of these are not recognizable as RA.

    14. […] it is a systemic disease that affects more than the joints [see more on the RA Warrior blog here, here and Kelly's summary in pdf here] jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_1").tooltip({ tip: […]

    15. Lisa Carpenter says:

      Your exactly right! RA isn’t limited to hands ONLY! I have it all over my body but my last Rheumatologist only wanted to say it was in my hands. That’s why I fired her and am now waiting to see a new one! Hope he has some better answers for all of my pain!

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