Medical Questions » Arthritis Questions » Question No. 93
Question:I believe that rheumatoid arthritis is not just a disease of old people, but can occur at all ages, including childhood. What do you think?
Answer:Rheumaroid arthritis can occur at any age, including a rare childhood form (when the disease is called Still' s disease), but as the disease usually lasts life-long, the number of older people with the disease is greater than the number of young or middle-aged people. There are some patients in whom the disease appears to ' burn out' in old age, and although they may not have the severe pain they had in earlier years, the deformed joints (particularly of the hand) with theit reduced function, will remain for the rest of their lives. The most common age for the disease to actually start is between 30 and 40, and it is far more common in females than males (by a ratio of 3 to 1). Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, but there are many drugs available to control the worst of the symptoms. In some patients, it is now possible to replace the small joints in the fingers (which are particularly severely attacked by this disease) to improve both the appearance and usefulness of the hands.
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