Rheumatoid arthritis is “a form of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease. In rheumatoid arthritis the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints. As a result of the attack, fluid builds up in the joints, causing pain in the joints and inflammation that’s systemic – meaning it can occur throughout the body.” (Arthritis.org) Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that cannot be cured.
According to the Huffingtonpost, “In a new study looking at more than 2,300 adults, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that women under 50 with rheumatoid arthritis are also at greater risk of breaking bones than those without the disease. Men also saw greater risk of fractures, but the risk did not increase until they were older.” Research has tied rheumatoid arthritis with an increased risk of osteoporosis and accelerated bone loss. Those that are over 50 are more likely to break a bone, however those as young as age 25 can start to see symptoms.
A 2004 report from the Surgeon General estimates that 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures occur each year, leading to more than half a million hospitalizations and between $12 and $18 billion in direct care costs. Rheumatoid arthritis may be a direct cause of the problem. Certain proteins that drive inflammation in the joints of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers also seem to have an effect on bone cells, ultimately causing increased loss of the cells. (Huffingtonpost)
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, “Studies have found an increased risk of bone loss and fracture in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. To begin with, the glucocorticoid medications often prescribed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can trigger significant bone loss. In addition, pain and loss of joint function caused by the disease can result in inactivity, further increasing osteoporosis risk.
Studies also show that bone loss in rheumatoid arthritis may occur as a direct result of the disease. The bone loss is most pronounced in areas immediately surrounding the affected joints. Of concern is the fact that women, a group already at increased risk for osteoporosis, are two to three times more likely than men to have rheumatoid arthritis as well.”
Written by: Sharan Kaur, FizzNiche Staff Writer
- “What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?” Arthritis.org. .
- “Rheumatoid Arthritis Tied To Increased Risk Of Broken Bones In Young Women.” Huffingtonpost.com. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/rheumatoid-arthritis-risk-of-broken-bones_n_1076914.html.
- “What People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Need to Know About Osteoporosis.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.