Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) raises the risk of fractures in young women, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although men were also found to have a higher risk of breaking bones, their risk was associated with older age, whereas for women, it was under the age of 50. It has already been established that rheumatoid arthritis patients over the age of 50 face a higher risk of broken bones, but little has been known for those under 50.
The researchers looked at two groups of 1,155 adults each, one group with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and the other without. Each patient was matched based on age and gender with a participant from the control group. The participants’ medical records were reviewed for incidences of broken bones. The researchers found that in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, new fractures were more likely to be reported in women, compared to men.
Additionally, women under the age of 50 with rheumatoid arthritis were more likely to have a new fracture – compared to their healthy counterparts – while men’s risk didn’t arise until much older age.
Lead researcher Dr. Shreyasee Amin said, “Understanding what contributes to the risk for fractures for all with rheumatoid arthritis, including young women, would help us better prevent them.”
Women are three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, compared to men. Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t a normal part of aging and, in fact, many younger men and women develop rheumatoid arthritis – all before the age of 50. Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive chronic condition, meaning, it gets worse over time. Although there are management options, there is no cure.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can directly affect the joints, but there are also many symptoms that do not affect the joints, but are important nevertheless. These include fatigue, low-grade fever, and loss of appetite. A general state of not feeling well may be present for months prior to the onset of joint-related RA symptoms.
Some more commonly recognized symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include stiffness, joint swelling and pain, rheumatoid nodules, deformity as a result of inflammation, severe dryness in the eyes and mouth, rheumatoid inflammation of the lungs, inflammation of the covering of the heart, reduction in healthy red blood cells, and rare but serious inflammation of the blood vessels. These signs and symptoms can worsen with the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and duration of the disease.
Detecting rheumatoid arthritis early on can put you on a path for better RA management, which can reduce symptoms and improve life quality overall.