February 2nd is Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day. Sad that in this day of so much knowledge at our fingertips, like no other generation has had, and most people still believe that osteo and rheumatoid arthritis are closely linked. People often think all arthritis is osteoarthritis, and often say, "oh, my granddad had that" which is terribly frustrating to anyone with RA. RA is a serious auto immune disease. Despite taking a biologic injection and chemo, I hurt every single day. The inflammation caused by RA can lead to heart, lung, and eye damage. Joint deformities are common in RA often times lead to joint erosion and displacement. While my fingers and toes are hooking and turning, I'm actually lucky to have only one small nodule on my left hand and one on my ring finger of my right hand. Although small they are very painful when bumped or hit. RA affects mostly women although there are many men living with it as well. Another interesting fact, RA typically affects women more severely than men. We have bouts of intense disease activity known as flare ups that can last from a few hours to a few weeks. I had one that lasted 6 months in 2011. Fatigue is a very serious symptom for me. I never feel rested and rarely have energy to do anything. I wake up just as tired as when I went to bed the night before. Add in brain fog and balance problems too. On average, RA will shorten most patients lifespan by 3 years or more.