Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis - Tips for Patients

Tips

You & RA

If you find RA physically and emotionally painful, you're not alone. RA can often be a difficult disease to navigate, and can take a powerful physical toll on your body.Living with RA can also impact your emotions.

No longer being able to do things for yourself-or having to sit out on activities you once enjoyed, like helping your kids with schoolwork- can lead to a sense of frustration, resignation,and defeat. Maybe you're finding it hard tocomplete, or even attend your favorite yoga class. or maybe you're having difficulty completing a task at work you once found easy.
Trust that you are not alone. Many patients have to make accommodations in everyday life due to their RA.

Change-it’s inevitable

You can’t prepare for everything – but you can arm yourself with knowledge

RA symptoms can change over time. Even if you have been living with RA for years, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms and make doctor aware of your changes. It can be helpful to write your symptoms down in advance and bring the notes you make to your next appointment.

You may feel reluctant to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, or to describe your personal struggles, but the more information you share, the more doctor can help & support you. You may also find it difficult to distinguish between changes resulting from RA and those that are simple a part of “normal life”.

Tracking your symptoms may help you see patterns or trends that may not have realized otherwise, as well as help you document changes in your symptoms that occur between doctor’s visits. With our busy lives, it is easy to forget details that may be important to share with your doctor.

Set important goals with your doctor and discuss the best ways to reach them. Your doctor may adjust or change your treatment along the way to help you reach each goal.

Let's talk about remission

A brighter tomorrow could start today

Although there is no cure, remission may be possible for some patients. For some remission can mean no more symptoms altogether. However other patient can reach clinically defined remission, meaning minimal or no sign of active inflammation.

Some days may be more difficult than others. It's important to let your doctor know if your symptom are changing or aren't getting better. Be honest with them if you are making accommodottons or feel you are not getting the best from your treatment.

Flares happen

How to handle the sudden worsening of RA symptoms·

The sudden worsening of RA symptoms is known as a Flare. Flares are temporary and shouldn't be taken as a sign that your RA is progressing. Flares sometimes have clear triggers-for example following an infection or as a result of stress. But flare can also occur without any known trigger. This can make it especially difficult to balance your day to day life with RA. Some flare may not resolve on their own time.

A flares can mean your plans may have to change. If you find yourself having to miss out on social event, plan around flares, or make accomodation at work, talk to your doctor, bacuse RA is a choice and progressive disease, flare can become more painful or more frequent over time. Talking with your doctor about the best step to take when a flare occur can help to ease feelings of doubts and uncertainity.

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Food for Thought

A healthy diet can make a positive difference

Following a healthy diet over time may help to reduce the level of inflammation in your body. Avoid processed and fast food in favor of anti-inflammatory foods like fish, vegetable, fruit and olive oil. If you're unsure about changes to your diet, ask the advice of your doctor.

Fitness

It's time to get moving

Following a consistant exercise routine can help you to stay mobile and keep your joints flexible. Asking friends or family to join you to make getting exercise more enjoyable.

Remember: It's Ok to start slow. Yoga, swimming, or a light walk might be good to begin with. Be sure to talk with your doctor beofre starting any new form of excersice.

Fighting fatigue

Tired of feeling worn down by RA? A talk with your doctor may help.

Dealing with constant pain and inflammation can drain your energy and leave you feeling constantly tired, especially it pain kicks in before bed.The inflammation process can also increase fatigue. A lack of sleep can affect your RA symptoms. Tiredness and reduced mobility make it difficult for some people suffering from RA to function in the workplace. Others find themselves struggling to complete even basic tasks like calling a friend, bathing, or reading a good book.

Reaching out to friends and loved ones for support when you feel overwhelmed or exhausted can make a powerful, positive difference. It's important to find the right balance of rest and activity throughout the day, which may mean resting between exercises or taking an afternoon nap.

Talk to your doctor about the impact that fatigue has on your daily life and discuss addition always to overcome fatigue.

Family Support

You dont have to struggle in silence.

Living with RA can lead to feelings of frustation, anxiety, depression,and uncertainty.Patients may feel like they are missing out on things, especially during social or workplace activities. Some may also feet that their RA is a burden to other and often feel misunderstood. Asking for help from coworkers might feel like you're not as independent as you want to be.

Talk to your loved ones about how you are feeling mentally and physically. If you are comfortable doing so explain to your coworkers that you may have difficulty at times due to your RA.

It's important to focus on the positive. Don't just note the bad days; allow yourself to take strength from the good days,too-and celebrate daily victories, no matter how big or small.

Be sure to let your doctor know if you feel helpless or alone, and ask about local support groups.

assessment count

When treating certain medicines, your doctor will not only check measurable levels (such as levels of inflammation in the blood), but will also ask you how you rate your success and how satisfied you are. Your doctor will ask you for

  • Pain
  • Fatigue (severe tiredness and fatigue)
  • Morning stiffness

Talk to your doctor. Give active, honest and open feedback and tell the doctor how you are doing.Depending on the outcome of the self-assessment and the test results, your doctor may respond and adjust your therapy as needed.

Stay in dialogue with your treatment team
Engage with your doctor in a dialogue and trust him. Your doctor will not only check the success of the treatment with laboratory tests, he will also ask you personally if your symptoms have improved. Be active, honest and open about how you are doing. Tell him how you really feel. Do not be afraid to speak the truth and talk about your problems and wishes. Do not let a full waiting room irritate you - now it's your turn:

  • Describe your symptoms in detail and concretely: Where do you have complaints? When do you have complaints?
  • Tell your doctor if and how you are restricted in everyday life and what that means for your quality of life.
  • Get detailed advice: What is RA? How can your doctor best treat you in your case? What should you pay attention to? What can you do yourself? What should you avoid?
  • What is the right and optimal therapy for you? How to supplement a drug therapy?

You have an influence - on your therapy, on your quality of life and on your future! What can you do yourself to positively influence the course of RA?

Regular use of your medication forms the basis of the therapy to permanently alleviate your symptoms. In addition, you can help yourself to the fact that you can feel well with RA and make your life positive.

  • If you are a smoker, try to reduce or even eliminate your tobacco intake because smoking can aggravate the symptoms of RA.
  • Make sure you have enough exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. Both generally promote health and well-being.
  • Treat yourself to relaxation, for example, by autogenic training or meditation to cope well with everyday stress.
  • Many people with RA complain about restrictions in terms of social contacts, especially in the partnership. Speak openly and honestly with your partner about your needs and make clear what fears and thoughts you may be dealing with. Only then can you find a common way that will do justice to both.
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