Anyone can get this disease, though it occurs more often in women. Rheumatoid arthritis often starts in middle age and is most common in older people. But children and young adults can also get it. The ratio of men to women is about four to one or three to one depending on who you ask. And it is thought to be related, although it's not completely understood to estrogen levels putting women at risk for rheumatoid arthritis. About 1.3 million Americans have RA.
There are differences between how the sexes may develop RA and handle it.
1. One risk factor is smoking and more men smoke than women.
2. It seems according to some studies to have an effect on erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with RA seem to have erectile dysfunction at a higher rate.
2. Women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis before age 50 are known to be at higher risk for breaking bones than those without the condition. Now a study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN has found that men are not immune to the risk for bone fractures, but that their risk does not surface until they're older.
3. Men don’t seek rheumatoid arthritis treatment until their disease has progressed could explain why their condition appears to be more severe when it’s finally diagnosed. If you’re a man with unexplained joint pain, don’t put off seeing your doctor. Women see their doctors at earlier stages.
4. Many men don’t comply with their rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan as well as they could. They are less likely to go to follow-up appointments or to take medication.