- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Eight Do’s for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of joints. It is different from other types of arthritis in that it affects joints of both sides of the body symmetrically. At times it also may occur in skin, lungs, eyes, nerves, blood and heart. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which body’s immunity fails to recognize its own cells and destroys them.
Rheumatoid arthritis can become very complicated especially when it remains undiagnosed. And problem in its diagnosis is lack of a decisive test. Though, till now an element called rheumatoid factor has been found to occur in RA patients, it is not certain that if it doesn’t occur in any patient, that patient doesn’t suffer from RA. In such a condition, symptoms go on increasing and disease becomes more and more incurable and diminishes patient’s quality of life.
When the patient lives with a disease like RA, what he or she needs the most is mental support. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which makes its presence in flares. And these flares may repeat after many years or may not occur at all, or they can repeat after an interval of just some days too. In the later case, the patient may collapse mentally along with collapsing physically. But good news is the severity of flares can be reduced. Only things you need are to increase your mental strength and remain persistent in efforts.
Seek a Rheumatologist to Treat Your RA
A family physician is good to meet when you first met him or her casually to show your aching knee. But once you get diagnosed with RA, you should consult a rheumatologist. It may also happen that your family doctor can consult with a rheumatologist for enquiring further treatment. If you don’t know any rheumatologist, your can discuss with your doctor to find out one.
The More You Know, the Better
Rheumatoid arthritis is an incurable disease. We can only try to live the most comfortably with it. And for that, you should have as much knowledge about the disease as you can. Read about it, talk with your doctor, search through internet, participate in forums, and learn as much as you can. Another benefit of this is it will make you meet other sufferers online or face-to-face and you can form a support group.
Better Your People Too Know More about RA
Real problem with RA is you look healthy otherwise. If you want support from others, you should make them know more and more about RA and what you are going through. When they will learn about the disease they will do things to support you. If possible, take them with you to the doctor and also to the Self-help programs organized by arthritis foundations.
Importance of Medicine Schedule
Today doctors may prescribe DMARDs soon after you are diagnosed with RA, when earlier they used to prescribe them if the pain-killers like aspirin failed. This is because these drugs help reducing the pain faster and prevent further deterioration of the joints. You should take them regularly, because if their level in the blood goes down your flare soon arises causing permanent worsening of the joints.
Importance of Activity
As such exercise is good for everyone, but those with RA need it even more. Exercise not only keeps you active, but also relieves stress, improves your sleep, and loses the surplus weight which imparts extra pressure on your joints.
Importance of Rest
Rest is equally important for rheumatoid arthritis patients as exercise is, especially when their disease is in active phase. It rejuvenates the body to fight the disease and decreases pain and inflammation.
Importance of Counseling
Mental support is utmost important in RA. Visiting a counselor can help you to cope up with the disease better. You can also join a support group as, meeting others who suffer the same sorrow as you do, reduces mental pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet
Eating healthy is good for everyone and a RA patient should be careful about his or her diet. Take plenty of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts and soy, to reduce inflammation. Cut down saturated fats by cutting down on junk food. Also add natural calcium to your diet to compensate bone loss. Sources of calcium are dairy products, fruit juices and green veggies. Folic acid found in leafy veggies, breakfast cereals and oranges is also necessary to decrease the side effects of methotrexate.
Thus if you remain tolerant and keep on fighting your rheumatoid arthritis you may not kick it out though you will definitely live happily coping with it.