Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis

How Will Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect my Quality of Life?

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) include painful swelling and stiffness to the joints of affected individuals. Often times, these individuals will experience extreme fatigue, as the body expends energy to combat these symptoms. This can be draining for those living with RA, as it becomes more difficult to accomplish daily tasks or maintain the same quality of life as before the diagnosis. One’s sense of autonomy and purpose could be diminished, putting these individuals at greater risk for mental health issues like depression and loneliness.

How Can I Cope with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

If you have been diagnosed with RA, your physical, mental and social health may be affected, especially due to the disruption caused in your typical way of living. However, learning to adapt to a new way of life, and taking on greater control of your health, can help you feel empowered to combat many of these symptoms.

  • Maintain an Exercise Routine: Consistently engage in low-impact exercises to combat range-of-motion problems, and improve joint strength and flexibility. Examples of such exercises include walking, swimming, yoga and use of the elliptical.
  • Change Your Diet: Diet plays a critical role in managing inflammation in the body, and improving energy levels. Incorporate a variety of anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, including those high in antioxidants, like fatty fish, nuts/seeds, blueberries, green leafy vegetables and red wine.
  • Listen to Your Body: Instead of dismissing your symptoms, and trying to ‘power through the fatigue,’ rest when your body needs it. Show compassion and understanding for what you are enduring, and recognize that demonstrating anger or frustration could exacerbate symptoms and leave you feeling hopeless.
  • Educate Yourself: Talk with your healthcare professional about the implications of being diagnosed with RA and ways you can more actively manage your health needs. Join support groups in your community, and share your story to help others who are struggling.
  • Advance RA Research: Every medication, whether it is prescription or over-the-counter, has been through a rigorous research process. Clinical trials are conducted to help develop diagnostic tools, prevention and treatment options for RA. Voluntary participants are still needed to advance this critical area of research. Joining a research study may give you the opportunity to improve your own health, to improve the lives of millions of people, and to become a channel to impact future generations. To learn more about RA research studies, visit: Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Study.