Systemic (adjective): pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole (via dictionary.com)
As any person living with arthritis can tell you, the understanding that autoimmune arthritis is just a disease of the joints is…inaccurate. Rather, it is a disease that involves many different body systems and includes many comorbid conditions.
Inflammation in one body system (like the joints) is just the first domino in a succession for many of us. It’s not fun, and it’s very serious.
Recently, I have been dealing with fevers and pain in my back around my kidneys. Because I’m used to living with arthritis, I let it go a few days before I took myself in to my primary care doctor. Flare or infection? I needed to know, and I needed to have some labs run to find out.
It turned out that I did have some inflammation impacting my kidneys. I needed to hydrate, rest, and take care of myself.
I have spent the better part of the past three weeks drinking gallons of water a day and resting as much as possible. I withdrew from my public social media, took days to answer emails, and didn’t spend much time doing things that required me to leave the house.
I should add that I didn’t want to do any of these things: sometimes arthritis has a way of changing the best of plans.
If only the world knew how serious this disease really was.