at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Book Review: Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked


You guys: this is important! This is exciting! This is not an ordinary book review! This book review is special in two regards: 1) it was authored by a dear friend, Kelly Young, who worked tirelessly and put countless hours into creating this powerful and compelling resource, and 2) it conveys the most important information that needs to be communicated to improve the lives of people with rheumatoid disease -- including myself, my stepdad, several friends, Kelly herself, the online #rheum community that has meant so much to me, and countless others who live with this disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease takes a comprehensive look at the illness commonly referred to as RA (rheumatoid arthritis), with each chapter underscoring the inadequacy and dangers of referring to this disease as a "type of arthritis," with facts about the dangers of this disease that often exist in the extra-articulate (non-joint) aspects (heart, lungs, vascular system, eyes, etc). Kelly walks readers through a brief history of our knowledge of rheumatoid disease (or, RD - the preferred term for the disease by many patients and rheumatology professionals), then takes a careful look at what RD is and what RD isn't. The book proceeds to outline the serious dangers of rheumatoid disease, the systemic nature of the illness and multitude of symptoms and manifestations that patients may experience outside of the commonly associated joint symptoms.

With a plethora of footnotes and references to existing research, Kelly has truly done her homework and makes it easy for the reader to find follow-up readings. Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked is a must-read for anyone who is affected by rheumatoid disease -- whether you have the disease yourself, have a loved one with RD, or are a professional involved in rheumatology. Kelly does a fabulous job of balancing the content so that it is relevant and properly documented for healthcare professionals, yet is also comprehensible to the layperson.

For those not familiar with many of the medical or scientific terms used in this book, there is a very helpful glossary in the back. She encourages people to not be discouraged if they don't understand every term used: the important information will still be evident. It would be a great reference resource for patients and caregivers to be able to easily look up more detailed information about this disease -- and arming them with the knowledge they need to advocate for better care.  There are so many aspects of rheumatoid disease that I did not know existed when I was diagnosed. This book can help patients connect the dots between seemingly unrelated symptoms, and can help detect disease activity early, so that patients have the best chance to get early treatment (which is also the best chance for positive outcomes). It's informative for both the newly diagnosed and those with longstanding disease. After living with this disease for 13 years, and being involved in disease awareness and patient advocacy, I still learned a lot!

I read the Kindle version of the book, then ordered a paperback! It just arrived on Tuesday!

The book is available for sale on Amazon (paperback or Kindle):  - get your copy today! The physical book is awesome, but the Kindle version is really neat because you can do a search. So, if there was a topic that you wanted to come back to, it's really easy to find. You can also do digital highlighting and save those to reference back to!

If the content of this book is taken to heart, it has the potential to truly change the landscape for rheumatoid patient care -- even saving lives -- and to improve the outlook for this disease, providing some powerful action steps that we can take right now. I hope that everyone who reads this book recognizes the need for a name change so we can finally drop the "a" word (arthritis), unmask the true nature of this disease and increase public awareness for RD. This is a huge part of what the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF, of which I am currently the Vice President and Kelly is president and founder) is working toward. I'd encourage you to also follow the work of RPF and help support our mission of improving the lives of people with rheumatoid disease (PRD).


A big congratulations and THANK YOU to Kelly for doing the impossible and publishing this phenomenal resource -- I am so grateful for her and her leadership in spearheading this movement to uncover the truth. I hope that my friends and family will take the time to read it and gain a better understanding of this disease that I will live with for the rest of my life (unless we should be so fortunate to find a cure in my lifetime). Misunderstandings abound and knowledge is truly power. Thank you to all my friends and family, and especially my loving husband, Tom, for supporting me and encouraging me on my health journey.


Help Spread the Word!

Please help us spread the message that rheumatoid disease is a serious, even life threatening illness, and not a type of arthritis.

Below are a few of my favorite excepts and facts from the book. Please read consider sharing these or the images in this post on your own social media profiles to help unmask RA and get the truth out about rheumatoid disease!

Quotes from the book:

"Lives can be saved by simply recognizing that extra-articular disease is not rare and that rheumatoid disease exists beyond arthritis." (RA Unmasked, Chapter 11)
"No other single action could do more to advance public understanding of what the victims of this disease endure than to call it by what it is: a disease." 
(RA Unmasked, Chapter 11)
"The question is, if patients do not have 'articular RA' (articular arthritis), what do they have? Since 'articular' means 'related to joints' and 'arthritis' literally means 'inflamed joints,' Mikuls et al. seem to state that the patients studied have arthritis that is not articular or 'non-joint joint inflammation.'" (RA Unmasked, Chapter 4)
“Patient complaints of extra-articular symptoms often go unaddressed, one reason that the mortality rate of RD has not significantly improved. Patient care could be improved if medical professionals were made more aware of the need to address extra-articular disease.”  (RA Unmasked, Chapter 4)

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!