Fascinating Facts about Kelly or Rheumatoid Disease | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Fascinating Facts about Kelly or Rheumatoid Disease

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Kelly is fun & fascinating. RA, not so much. A few facts to quote.


Kelly was diagnosed with RA in June 2006, after over 25 years of periodic symptoms (flares).

Kelly is a mother of five. She homeschooled all of her children, three of whom graduated University or community college with academic scholarships.

Kelly began writing RA Warrior posts in early 2009.

RA Warrior is the most comprehensive website about RA with about 900 pages and 31,000 comments.

The name Kelly means “warrior” in Gaelic (Irish).

Kelly listens to TobyMac, the Eagles, Imagine Dragons, Andy Grammer, and Lionel Richie; and she plays Christmas music all year long.

Kelly founded the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation 501(c)3 in early 2011 to “Improve the lives of people living with Rheumatoid Disease.”

There are ~60,000 members of RA Warrior’s Facebook group.

It took 15 hours to make the unicorn fly across Kelly’s first PSA for 1 second.

Before the effects of RA, Kelly’s wore size 7 shoes. Now, they are 8.5 to 9.5.

Kelly designed in her laptop every scrap of wallpaper on the website, and every single t-shirt or button on rawarrior.com.

Kelly courageously took on Woman’s Day magazine in July 2009. Follow the unfolding saga via this link – click here.

Kelly loves all kinds of food and good wine, especially anything made with pumpkin.

Say cheese(cake).

RA facts

Rheumatoid Disease (RD) or Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an immune system disease causing fever and systemic inflammation. It leads to destruction of joints and organs.

There is no “RA test.”

Any joint or organ can be affected by RA, with arthritis being the most well-known RA symptom.

Research shows it is likely that RA begins in the lungs years before onset of joint symptoms.

Common RA symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, and joint pain, swelling, or instability.

Approximately 34% of RA patients are unresponsive to currently available treatments.

Responsiveness to RA treatments is highly variable, but generally dismal. (On the average, 29% of patients receive only 20% improvement; 16% of patients receive 50% improvement; 20% of patients receive 70% improvement).

RA usually damages the cervical spine early in the disease process, often before diagnosis.

Common secondary diagnoses of RA include Sjögren’s syndrome, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia syndrome, IBD, and vasculitis. Frequently, another autoimmune disease is a co-morbidity.

The Mayo Clinic finds the lifetime risk of RA is 3.6 percent for women, four times that of Lupus.

As of 2009, less than 26 cents is spent in the U.S. per RA patient on research; $3.34 is spent on MS, Lupus, and other rarer diseases.

RA incidence is 3 to 1 female with the peak onset age being 35 to 45 years of age.

RA outcome is highly variable due to heterogeneity of the disease and variable responses to treatment.

Within 10 years, 40-50% of people with RA are medically disabled so that employment must be reduced or discontinued.

Overall RA mortality rate is believed to be 2.5 times that of the general population. Mortality from RA has remained unchanged in 40 years, reaching 50% at five years with severe disease.

Estimates of RA mortality are mistakenly low because RA is recorded on death certificates in fewer than 1/4 of RA patients’ deaths.

Mayo Clinic estimates that 2 million Americans are diagnosed with RA.

Many other rheumatological conditions were once classified as Rheumatoid disease, but have subsequently been more specifically identified and given specific names.

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Edited 2/15/19 to update numbers.

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