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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia Can Influence Women’s Perception

A recent study has shown that rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia can change women’s perception, making them think they have an ugly body.

The study was made by the National Institutes of Health, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

woman with fibromyalgia showing back painRheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which affects the joints, causing stiffness and pain. The symptoms of fibromyalgia consist of widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain, stiffness and numbness. Both of these diseases can have a negative impact on your life by restricting your daily activities. The statistics show that women are more vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia than men.

The study analyzed the way women with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia perceive their bodies via phone interview. The main subjects on which the interview focused on were pain, weight, disease-induced fears, the way the diseases affected mental and physical function and coping measures. Although the general problem was regarding the pain they were feeling, the other problem the researchers noticed was that women were ashamed of how the two diseases affected their bodies, making them gain weight and limiting their social, psychological and physical activities.

Of the patients who took part in the study, those who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis reported that in their opinion the redness and swelling caused by the disease made it easier to diagnose while the patients suffering from fibromyalgia stated that because the symptoms aren’t visible it makes it harder for them to receive the proper treatment on time causing them a lot of discomfort.

The end results of the study show that rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia cause negative body image perception. Researchers noted the way the disease affected their self-identity, mental function, daily life limitations and their overall quality of life.

Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

It can be very hard to leave with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia due to their harsh symptoms. They can make you feel very restrained when it comes to doing your daily activities. Their symptoms can affect your mental health as well.

Despite the fact that you can suffer from only one of these conditions, they generally come in pair. Specialists have yet to determine the connection between the two, but they have noticed that while rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia, the same doesn’t apply for patients who suffer just from fibromyalgia.

According to some of the studies, the chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis can have a negative impact on how the nervous system perceives pain. Because of this, rheumatoid arthritis patients are more sensible to pain, experiencing it in higher amounts.

In order to manage the diseases properly it is recommended that you consult your doctor for advice on what is the best way to treat them.


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