Matzie spotlights rheumatoid disease and its effects on the heart

Resolution designates Feb. 2 as Rheumatoid Awareness Day in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – Saying rheumatoid arthritis is neither fully understood nor funded, Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, saluted the unanimous adoption today of his resolution designating Thursday, Feb. 2,  as Rheumatoid Awareness Day in Pennsylvania.

“Awareness, attention and research funding are lacking because this insidious disease often is mistakenly presumed to be a type of arthritis,” Matzie said. “I salute my fellow House member for their total support of House Resolution 35 and its goal of raising awareness about rheumatoid disease.”

Matzie said as many as 2 million Americans suffer from the chronic, progressive disease that damages joint and organ tissues – especially the heart -- and creates severe pain, frequent disability and increased mortality.

“The statistics behind the disease are horrific, but witnessing it personally and having to see the debilitating effects it had on my dad drives home the need to devote resources and attention to fight it,” Matzie said. “Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for a more positive outcome, but complete remission is rare.”

Matzie said Rheumatoid Awareness Day on Feb. 2 comes near the start of Heart Disease Awareness month because rheumatoid patients have a 50 percent higher risk of heart attacks and twice the risk of heart failure as well as increased rates of vascular disease.

The joint pain, fatigue, fevers, stiffness, hoarseness and dry eyes normally associated with the disease are compounded by its documented harms to the hearts of patients,” Matzie said. “Rheumatoid disease is a killer, and an especially cruel one.”

More information about rheumatoid disease is available online at rheum4us.org/.