Arthritis may be a common disease but when it worsens, it can have severe implications. Most severe of arthritis type is rheumatoid arthritis. It’s best that you see your doctor if you feel any of the symptoms of RA and early diagnosis leads to early treatment. RA (rheumatoid arthritis) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system (which protects our body from foreign substances like bacteria and viruses) mistakenly attacks the joints. This leads to inflammation causing the tissue (synovium) to thicken. This results in swelling and pain in and around the joints. It affects mostly the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. It can also further affect the cardiovascular or respiratory system.
The first thing that you will get to know about RA, if you are diagnosed with it is that it can’t be cured for now. But the good news you will get is that treatment may help and aggressive treatment can be a saver. While you can find different treatments and therapies, self management is also important in this and so being active is of utmost importance. Current treatments are able to provide great relief from symptoms and poor function. No single treatment works for all patients. So doctors use different treatment for different patients. Also, change is always good. So changing treatment once or twice in lifetime would be better. One of the newer medications for RA includes disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Its work is to slow the course of disease.
Besides going to your rheumatologists for therapies and treatment with medication, you need to work on reducing your pain yourself as well. Following points are those, which you might consider helpful for self management.
• Become an expert yourself. Understand your disease and get in- depth knowledge. Now you can search for anything related to RA. Also there are self-management programs which make you aware about RA and how you can deal with it on a Daily basis.
• Take help of assistive devices. These would help to avoid stress on your painful joints. You can consult your therapist for assistive devices that would be of help to you. Now there are many supply stores and online platforms where you can find these.
• Apart from surgery, if medications do not relieve you, you can also go for alternative treatments like natural oils including fish oil, plant oil. But these may also have some side effects. So, first check with your doctor or therapist before going for any of these.
• Balance your rest and exercising time to control your inflammation and pain. Exercise regularly when your RA is not severe. And take rest when it’s active to reduce pain and also to fight fatigue. Exercise will help you maintain your muscles and flexibility. But do it after taking into account everything from physical abilities to your condition of RA.
• Try to reduce your stress and put yourself on a healthy diet. Although it would be physically and emotionally stressful for you to control RA, but taking stress will worsen your RA as is obvious. There are number of exercises for reducing stress from resting to visualization. Also keep yourself in touch with support groups can also help in dealing with stress. And in stress, don’t forget to eat healthy! A nutritious diet including calcium, vitamins, proteins and all other minerals is important as you might have heard from your doctor or an expert.
You can also find your own ways to deal with or control you RA. Also, if you are friend or relative of a person who is suffering from RA, you can suggest these tips. Before going for any medication or therapy, consult your doctor first because everything has its own side effects. Always be optimistic and you can find innovative techniques to deal with RA. Though there’s no permanent cure for rheumatoid arthritis for now but research is still on.