Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

5 Things People With RA Want You to Know

By Camille Noe Pagán
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by David Zelman, MD

Rheumatoid arthritis is often called a “silent disease.” Why? Unlike many other illnesses, you can’t always tell when a person with RA is feeling their worst.

That’s just one of the things people with the condition want you to know, whether you’re newly diagnosed with RA or someone close to you has it.

Recommended Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Can I Exercise If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Yes, you can! Being active is one of the best things you can do for yourself, even if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). You just have to know how to work within your limits. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you with that. When you make fitness a regular part of your life, the benefits include: Less pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Stronger bones. This is important because RA can thin your bones, especially if you take steroids. You’ll move better and have more energy. ...

Read the Can I Exercise If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis? article > >

We asked people with the disease to speak out. Here’s what they had to say.

No. 1. “Just because I look fine doesn’t mean I am.”

“Even though I may look healthy and happy on the surface, [my RA means] I suffer with daily, often severe pain,” says Meredith Hutter Chamorro, 45, of Pennsylvania.

That’s because people with RA are always dealing with joint issues. Sometimes they get flare-ups, too. That’s when their symptoms get worse, with the disease causing painful, swollen joints and extreme fatigue.

Chamorro works with women who have autoimmune diseases like RA as a health coach and yoga therapist. Her clients say they’ve known people who don't believe they're in pain, she says.

“Some have gotten dirty looks, or worse, when they park in a handicapped spot or ask for assistance,” she says.

What the doubters don't realize is that rheumatoid arthritis flares can make it painful or impossible to do everyday tasks, like shopping or walking across a parking lot.

RA leads to joint damage, too. That can cause disability, and some people end up needing serious medical treatments like joint replacement surgery. It can hurt other parts of the body, too, like the eyes, heart, and lungs.

“Sometimes others just don’t understand what someone with RA is going through, and don’t offer support or empathy when they should,” says Rochelle Rosian, MD, a rheumatologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

If you have a friend or relative who has RA, it’s okay to talk with them about it. Ask how you can help them when they're feeling bad, and how you can tell when they could use help.

2. “It’s not ‘just’ arthritis.”

"Too often, people hear ‘arthritis’ and think minor aches and pains," says Dina Neils, 30, a blogger living in California. Neils was diagnosed with RA 18 years ago.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

rubbing hands
Avoid these 6 common mistakes.
mature couple exercising
Decrease pain, increase energy.
mature woman threading needle
How much do you know?
Swelling, fatigue, pain, and more.
Lucille Ball
Hand bones X-ray
prescription pills
Woman massaging her neck
woman roasting vegetables in oven
Woman rubbing shoulder
doctor and patient hand examination