Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be a life-changing diagnosis. You may need to take treatment to control your condition for the rest of your life. Simple daily tasks can become difficult to carry out, depending on how much pain and stiffness you are experiencing. You may need to find a way to adapt to a new way of doing things, which includes making significant changes to your lifestyle to keep the condition under control.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON LIVING WITH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
- Self-care- Self-care is a vital part of life when fighting a disease like RA. It involves taking full responsibility for your own health and wellbeing with support from people around you. Aim to be proactive in managing you condition by doing things that benefit you (such as staying physically active, looking after your mental health and being aware of your limitations). Avoid things that can make your disease worse (such as stopping your medication, smoking or skipping physiotherapy or occupational therapy appointments).
- Take your medicine – It is important to take your medicine as prescribed, even if you start feeling better. Medication can help prevent flare-ups and reduce the risk of further problems such as joint damage. If you have any questions or concerns about the medicine you're taking or side effects you may be experiencing, talk to your doctor. You do not have to suffer in silence.
- Regular medical reviews - You will need to have good communication with your doctor so that he/she can assess if your condition is being managed correctly and if the treatment prescribed is right for you.
- Healthy eating and exercise - Regular exercise and a healthy diet should be incorporated into your daily routine. Exercising regularly can help relieve stress, keep your joints mobile and strengthen the muscles supporting your joints. Find an activity that you enjoy so that it will be easier to stay consistent. If you start experiencing severe pain or a warm and swollen joint, stop and rest. If you are really struggling to find an exercise that you like that does not cause discomfort, ask your doctor or physiotherapist to assist.
YOUR HEALTH IS A PRIORITY.
TAKE ACTION TO ALLOW YOURSELF TO LIVE WELL AND ENJOY A HEALTHY LIFE FOR LONGER.
Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window
Reference: Scott DL, Wolfe F, Huizinga TW. Rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet. 2010 Sep 25;376(9746):1094-108.