Saying Rheumatoid Disease, Not Arthritis: It’s Not Just Me
Twenty months ago, I explained why I’d become convinced that the “name” of Rheumatoid Arthritis must be changed. The more I’ve learned over the past few years, the more I could not deny that fact.
Soon after that, I decided to write a little e-book examining the ways Rheumatoid Disease affects the body outside of the musculoskeletal system – maybe about 35 pages. But I wanted to get all the facts just right, so I researched and documented each topic. We can talk much more about the upcoming full-length book soon, but I’ll tell you right now what stunned me – how much I learned about things I already knew.
The historical term Rheumatoid Disease is still in use today and you don’t need to worry about being an oddball for using it. I can promise you this: the deeper you dig, the more obvious it will be to you that calling a serious disease “a type of arthritis” is the silly thing.
It will be more and more obvious that-
1) Rheumatoid Disease (RD) is not a type of arthritis (arthritis is one symptom of RD).
2) There is no benefit to people living with Rheumatoid Disease (PRD) to saying that it is (a type of arthritis).
3) The problems associated with poor care for RD are related to the underestimating of the disease as a type of arthritis.
I picked up this ball and ran with it – I didn’t invent the ball
Some have criticized me for coining the terms Rheumatoid Disease and rheumatoid heart disease, but I can’t really take credit for them. I’ve just read lots of medical history in the past few years. The historical, and medically correct, term “Rheumatoid Disease” and its abbreviation “RD” are used today by clinicians and researchers, especially outside of rheumatology. If you were a pulmonologist studying the effect of RD on the lungs, you would feel silly talking about “arthritis” because you know there are no joints in the lungs. The same goes for eyes, heart, or vocal cords.
(Below, 2 examples, emphases added).
Be right, and set a trend
If you understand the reasoning behind using the term RD, go ahead and use it. You’re not alone, and you’re not wrong; you’re a trendsetter. There is more to come soon with the book, and some other opportunities to make a difference. If you’re unsure now, the book will likely convince you, and make you an advocate for RD. But if you agree, don’t wait to say RD out loud to your family, your doctors, your patients, or on social media.
To some degree, RAW must continue to use “Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)” for a period of time alongside of RD in order to educate the new readers who find this site every day. By using both terms together, RAW is also educating the search engines (Google, etc.) that the new term, RD, can be used to mean what it knows as RA.
Starting a trend?
- Ten Funny Things I Tell Myself about Living with RA
- 20 Replies to Things Not to Say to a Rheumatoid Patient
- 5 Reasons Rheumatoid Disease Is a Better Term than Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Preclinical Rheumatoid Disease: There Are No Joints in the Lungs
1 Bhatia GS, Sosin MD, Grindulis KA, Davis RC, Lip GYH. Rheumatoid disease and the heart: from epidemiology to echocardiography. Expert Opin Ivestig Drugs. 2005 Jan [cited 2013 Sep 3];14(1): 65-76. doi:10.1517/135437184.108.40.206 Abstract available from: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1517/135437220.127.116.11%20
2 Brichford C. How rheumatoid arthritis affects the lungs. Everyday Health [website]. 2013 Jul 8 [cited 2013 Sep 3]. Available from: http://www.everydayhealth.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis-lungs.aspx
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