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Rheumatoid Arthritis and YOU

Updated on July 28, 2010

Managing your symptoms

Is it possible to have an active and fulfilling life with Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA)? Yes it is. As one of the 2.5 million individuals in the US affected by RA, I know that it is possible to have an active life.

RA is a progressive autoimmune disease causing deformity and crippling. It is characterized by joint pain and inflammation. With educating myself and being proactive, I am able to manage this very debilitating disease that can affect areas of the body other than the joints. I have had my share of anti-inflammatory drugs,corticosteroids and other treatments that suppress the immune system, while often getting my group therapy from interaction in the waiting room of the rheumatologist.

It wasn't always easy for me. Over 17 years of trial and error, diagnoses, experimenting with meds and a lot of tears, I have found a satisfying regiment and med combination that allow me to hold a full-time job and an active and rewarding sideline.

Once you have been diagnosed with this disease, it is imperative that you work closely with a rheumatologist to come up with what best suits you. You need to be able to manage the pain, swelling, fatigue and stiffness associated with RA to be able to do simple everyday tasks e.g., getting out of bed without assistance, bending, or using a manual can-opener. Most of all you need the medications that will slow down the progression and prevent further joint damage so that you can live a fulfilling life. An aggressive course of treatment at the onset of the symptoms can help long term in warding off some of the damage that could occur.

One may get discouraged when learning of the adverse effects of many of the drugs needed to treat this disease; however, the benefits far outweigh the adverse effects and will at least offer you the chance to change the course of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 

      7 years ago from Pakistan

      The disease is dreadful. The remedies like pain-killers have their own side-effects. One finds oneself between the devil and the deep sea.

      I am fortunate that I do not suffer from it which enables me to have long hikes and little adventures like going to the top of Adam's Peak in about 9 hours. But there is no escape from age-related diseases, like RA, and, at 70. I am already feeling the pinch.

      I appreciate your efforts in assembling facts concerning RA and your own example of survival.

      With so many grand-kids around, you certainly enjoy every moment of your life.

      God bless you for being helpful to the mankind.

    • Lyricallor profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorna Lorraine 

      8 years ago from Croydon

      Well Gma Goldie, I hate to say it but I have two out of those three you mention. One silent killer and one not so silent...Diabetes and RA.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Knee surgery is what I hope to avoid - so far my exercise program has worked miracles. My Mother had RA - she was cripped and RA attacked her heart. I didn't know that until about 2 years ago. I never knew RA could also affect the organs. Diabetes and RA and Cancer - I hate those three!

    • Lyricallor profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorna Lorraine 

      8 years ago from Croydon

      Thanks for sharing your story. I am getting ready to have my second knee replacement in a few days. Having two new knees should mean for me a better 2010 than the the last two as far as my activity level. I would say I have been Blessed with only two arthritis-related surgeries in 19 years.

    • Mrs.Nita profile image

      Mrs.Nita 

      8 years ago

      When I was about seven years old, I went into the hospital for this rare infection in my hip. I had to have surgery, and the doctors informed my mom that I would develope juvenile arthritis as I got older;but I would grow out of it. All throughout my preteens I struggled with this dibilitating disease. I couldn't walk far, I couldn't even perform simple tasks such as opening the refrigerator, and giving my little sister some milk. Life was hard for me. After a while, I did grow out of it, but I still have some joint damage in my hands. When it gets real cold my knees ache. Having arthritis is no joke, but I pray that I won't have to worry about it until years on down the line.

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