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Living With and Managing Your RA

Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis means you will have to learn to live with this disease ever day of your life. Fortunately, people can live a long, healthy and active life even with rheumatoid arthritis. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying fit and learning how to manage your pain are all crucial components to living with and managing your rheumatoid arthritis.

Dealing with fatigue

One of the most common complaints associated with rheumatoid arthritis is fatigue. After all, being in pain makes you tired. Lack of exercise can also contribute to this feeling since you are not generating hormones that make you feel better. There are some ways that are simple to deal with fatigue including:

Regular exercise - with the clearance of your rheumatologist doctor, exercise should be a part of your routine. This can help stimulate hormones that help elevate your mood and make you feel less sluggish.

Rest is needed - patients with rheumatoid arthritis may need to rest more frequently. This may involve simply taking a break from their normal activities for a brief period of time or taking a nap. Make sure that naps do not last too long or they may interfere with your ability to get a good night's sleep.

Dealing with pain

Pain management does not mean that you have to spend the entire day taking medication. In fact, many people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis that their pain can be managed with little more than anti-inflammatory medications which are generally available over the counter. Here are some other options:

Heat or cold packs - many rheumatoid arthritis patients can get relief from using hot or cold packs on aching joints. Heat may help slow down swelling providing relief from pain while cold packs can numb the painful joints temporarily. These should be used with caution and never placed directly on the skin.

Regular exercise - when you have rheumatoid arthritis, your rheumatologist may recommend a daily exercise program. It is important to maintain the flexibility of your joints as well as to keep the surrounding muscles strong. In addition, regular exercise may also help patients battle fatigue.

Anyone who is living with rheumatoid arthritis should meet with their medical team and find out what they recommend for pain management techniques at home. While rheumatoid arthritis cannot be reversed, most patients can maintain an active lifestyle with proper guidance from their rheumatologist doctor.

There are some tips that you should be aware of that can help keep your treatment plan on track.

  • Always let your doctor know about any unusual pain.
  • Never start a new exercise program without checking with your rheumatologist.
  • Check with your rheumatologist doctor regarding pain medications that might be available.
  • Take the time to rest to avoid fatigue.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis should be aware of any changes in their condition and keep track their exercise program. In addition, while not common, if you find that you are experiencing additional pain after eating certain foods, talk with your rheumatologist. Your rheumatology doctor can offer you the assistance that you need to successfully manage pain and learn to live with your rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Information & Resources

Rheumatologist Doctor

What Is a Rheumatology Doctor?

Your First Visit to the Rheumatologist

What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis?

Treatment & Care of Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Guides

Discussing Your Symptoms

Exercising With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Complications

Living With and Managing Your RA

Pain Management With RA

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