This article from WebMD states that women outnumber men by as much as three to one when it comes to being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. There may be fewer men than women being diagnosed with RA, but the fact is that there are men living with arthritis. And arthritis isn’t confined to adults, as we may know by now. There are little boys who are growing up with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis too. All around the world, little baby boys and toddlers and teens and grown men are living with auto-immune forms of arthritis.
I often find myself wondering how a guy manages when he has to live with (J)RA. As young ladies, we sometimes experience emotional pain as we may be teased for not quite fitting society’s image of the average healthy young woman our age. Among other matters we may worry about our appearance, fitting in with our peers, dating and the issues which can arise with intimacy and our physical limitations. As a young woman, I am sometimes refused assistance or given a dirty look when I ask for help, because I look youthful and healthy. So how are males in my situation treated? Most societies and cultures expect men to be strong and able-bodied. Men are often the protectors and the ones who do manual labour. How do young men with JRA cope?
I am not a guy but I imagine it cannot be easy.
If you’re a guy reading this, please know that we are all here for you. The challenges of living with (J)RA may differ somewhat for males and females – but we are all still fighting the same battle. Please keep pushing forward and being your amazing self. Don’t ever let this disease make you feel like you are less. Pay no attention to people who put you down because you may struggle with physical activities – it’s likely they have no idea what it’s like to live with chronic pain or damaged joints. You have a strong body which endures daily pain and you have a fighting spirit. In my eyes, those qualities truly make a great man (and woman). Have confidence in yourself and never by shy to share your uniqueness with the world. If you ever feel alone with this disease, I encourage you to check out RheumatoidArthritisGuy.com, which chronicles the adventures of the amazing RA Guy :). Keep strong guys.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Wishing all you guys and girls out there all the best,