Understanding The Emotional Impact Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
One of the underrated aspects of a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis for a young adult, though, is the emotional impact. After all, as Dr. Hedrick notes, its a chronic medical condition, something most patients will be dealing with the rest of their lives. And that can be overwhelming for someone in their late 20s or early 30s.
It is difficult for some young adults to accept the fact that theyll be living with a life-long illness, Dr. Hedrick says. But its one thats manageable with the right treatment and with care.
He says that one thing younger patients may face initially is more frequent visits to monitor symptoms, track the effectiveness of medicine and, in general, make sure theyre on the right track.
Younger adults are also very interested in their medical condition, especially something that will affect them for decades to come, he adds. And that can mean a lot of good, complex questions that require several follow-ups to fully explain. So part of any counseling for the patients is between them and their rheumatologist.
Dr. Hedrick also notes that hes had several young rheumatoid arthritis patients who have tapped into online communities which provide a great pillar of support and chances to do their own research, something he encourages.
Are There Any Specific Vaccine Side Effects To Be Aware Of With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some COVID-19 vaccine side effects could mirror those of a disease flare. Its important to carefully track your symptoms and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Typically, vaccine side effects only last a few days .
The CDC lists the following common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Pain on the arm where you got the shot
- Redness on the arm where you got the shot
- Swelling on the arm where you got the shot
Some vaccine side effects that can overlap with rheumatoid arthritis disease activity may include muscle aches, joint pain, temporary fever, and fatigue, says clinical rheumatologist Magdalena Cadet, MD, Associate Attending Physician at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
Nausea may be present in some individuals after the vaccine, but rheumatoid arthritis patients may also experience that symptom with medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, like methotrexate or sulfasalazine, she adds.
Another common symptom of the vaccine is swollen lymph nodes under the arms on the side of the body where you received the vaccine, per the Cleveland Clinic. The swollen lymph nodes typically appear a few days after the vaccine and tend to subside within a few days to a few weeks. Although uncommon, swollen lymph nodes can also appear with rheumatoid arthritis.
Can I Still Drive If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
For many people who have rheumatoid arthritis, driving a car is important to help them stay independent and mobile. And it helps people to stay socially active, especially if they live in the countryside.
It’s often still possible to drive a car even if you have rheumatoid arthritis. But over time, the symptoms may make it increasingly difficult to drive. There are many things that may be more and more of a problem, like taking a fast glimpse over your shoulder, steering safely, and shifting gears quickly or reacting to a dangerous situation in time. Some specialized modifications may be able to help, such as an additional mirror for people who aren’t able to turn their head very well. It’s also important that the step up into the car isn’t too high. An automatic car can be easier to drive. In some cases it may be possible to adjust the car to make it more suitable for a disabled driver.
Many drivers also change their driving habits on the road. They make sure to avoid busier times of the day, like rush hour, and don’t drive when they’re having a “bad day.” For people who have a severe walking disability, it can help to have their disability ID card marked with “special walking disability” : This makes it possible to park in special handicapped parking spaces.
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What Happens In Ra
With continuous swelling and inflammation of your joints, the joint capsule remains stretched and can no longer hold the joint in its proper position. As a result, the joint may become unstable and this can lead to joint damage. The joints affected and the extent to which this happens varies a great deal from person to person. RA usually affects the small joints in your hands and feet, but it can affect many joints including your ankles, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and shoulders. The pain, stiffness, fatigue and whole-body symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be disabling and can lead to difficulty with daily activities. Effective treatment by a rheumatologist can prevent joint damage and reduce other symptoms of RA.
Healthy Eating And Exercise
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are recommended for everyone, not just people with rheumatoid arthritis.
They can help reduce your risk of many conditions, including heart disease and many forms of cancer.
Exercising regularly can help relieve stress, help keep your joints mobile, and strengthen the muscles supporting your joints.
Exercise can also help you lose weight if you’re overweight, which can put extra strain on your joints.
But it’s important to find a balance between rest and exercise. Rest will make inflamed joints feel more comfortable, but without movement your joints will stiffen and your muscles will become weaker.
Find the best activities and the right balance for you. It’s usually best to increase the amount of exercise you do gradually.
If a particular activity causes your joints to become warm and swollen, or it causes severe pain, then stop and rest. If it does not cause problems, then it is usually fine to continue.
If a particular activity always causes a flare-up, it’s best to avoid it and find an alternative.
High-impact activities, such as running or contact sports like rugby and football, are more likely to cause problems.
Try low-impact activities that put less strain on your joints, such as swimming, cycling, walking and aqua aerobics.
If you need more guidance, a physiotherapist is a good person to advise you on suitable types of exercise.
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Factors That Influence Disease Course
Several factors can influence the course of your disease. The more factors you have, the more likely it is that you’ll have a progressive and destructive form of rheumatoid arthritis and a severe disease course.
Known influencing factors include:
- Positive for rheumatoid factor or anti-CCP
Remember, though, that even people with severe, progressive disease can achieve remission with proper treatment.
Nutritional Supplements And Dietary Changes
There is no strong evidence to suggest that specific dietary changes can help improve rheumatoid arthritis, although some people with rheumatoid arthritis feel that their symptoms get worse after they have eaten certain foods.
If you think this may be the case for you, it may be useful to try avoiding problematic foods for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. However, it is important to ensure your overall diet is still healthy and balanced.
There is also little evidence supporting the use of supplements in rheumatoid arthritis, although some can be useful in preventing side effects of medications you may be taking. For example, calcium and vitamin D supplements may help prevent osteoporosis if you are taking steroids and folic acid supplements may help prevent some of the side effects of methotrexate.
However, there is some evidence to suggest that taking fish oil supplements may help reduce joint pain and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
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Are People With Rheumatoid Arthritis At Greater Risk For Covid
Yes, but this is an ongoing area of research. Its believed that autoimmune and inflammatory rheumatic disease patients are at higher risk for being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and having worse outcomes compared to the general population, according to the ACR.
However, this is likely affected by factors such as age, other comorbidities such as heart or lung disease, which is common in RA, and taking steroid medications, rather than simply having RA alone.
The medical community does consider patients living with rheumatoid arthritis to be at a greater risk for COVID-19, based on their inflammatory response from their condition, says Dr. Cadet. The medications used to treat the disease can also suppress the immune system.
In other words, when your body is preoccupied by fighting its own cells, it doesnt attack invaders as well as it should. Medications that affect immune system function can also affect the bodys ability to fight off viruses like the coronavirus.
For more information, check out this summary of research on inflammatory arthritis and rheumatic disease patients and their risk for COVID-19 complications.
How Is Ra Treated
RA can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies. Treatment for RA usually includes the use of medications that slow disease and prevent joint deformity, called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs biological response modifiers are medications that are an effective second-line treatment. In addition to medications, people can manage their RA with self-management strategies proven to reduce pain and disability, allowing them to pursue the activities important to them. People with RA can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning to use five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.
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Potential Outcomes For Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
Potential outcomes that can develop in the course of rheumatoid arthritis include frequent flare-ups, decreased life expectancy, and numerous prognostic possibilities. While some patients may experience chronic active states of disease while others may have long periods of remission in which symptoms are not active.
Some common prognosis possibilities for rheumatoid arthritis patients will include:
- Persistentjoint inflammation
- Progressive, multiple joint destruction as the inflammation continues
- A decline in mobility and range of motion
- Pain and stiffness that fails to improve with treatment
In addition to the joints, RA also has complications that manifest in various organs around the body. Possible complications that may be experienced outside of the regular joint-related symptoms include:
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis
- Heart disease & high blood pressure
- Eye inflammation
- Increased risk of contracting infections
- Cancer especially lymphoma
- Respiratory conditions caused by nodules and scarring of the lungs
If symptoms progress rapidly through the four main stages of rheumatoid arthritis the condition can turn into progressive rheumatoid arthritis. This means symptoms continue to worsen over time with no reversal.
Ultimately, patients with rheumatoid arthritis need constant medical care, hence seeing a primary care physician, as well as a rheumatologist on a regular basis, will help to alleviate symptoms and make monitoring for signs of progression easier and timely.
Ra Prognosis: Can I Live A Long Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Todays modern treatment options and medical technology means a much more positive prognosis for rheumatoid arthritis than in the past. Thus many patients with rheumatoid arthritis are able to maintain a healthy quality of life and continue with work, school, physical and social activities.
However, an accurate prognosis is very difficult for doctors to predict. This is because the course of rheumatoid arthritis varies greatly among patients. In addition, the fact the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unclear also adds to the challenge.
It is important to note that a lot of factors contribute to disease outcome with severity ranging from mild discomfort to very severe and debilitating disease.
Also, different technologies abound that assist in disease monitoring and in the provision of targeted treatments. Hence, if patients continue with personalized treatment plans the likelihood of symptom control increases tremendously.
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Treatment For Dog Arthritis
There are certain things you could do when you come to know that your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis. But the treatment requires a multi-modal approach rather than a single way of treatment. I will explain to you all the ways and treatment processes than can make the life of an arthritic dog better.
Can Ra Be Fatal
RA alone is not fatal. Fatality occurs due to complications associated with the inflammation caused by RA. In severe cases, patients can develop other medical conditions. The other medical conditions that patients need to be aware when it comes to shortened RA life expectancy include:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory conditions like Chronic Pulmonary Obstruction Disorder
Off course, these are conditions that everyone should be concerned about. Keeping your body healthy through diet, exercise, and positive habits will go a long way to reducing the risk of fatality from any of these conditions.
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What Age Do Dogs Get Arthritis
As i have explained to you the above symptoms related to arthritis, do not assume that your dog has arthritis just by looking at the symptoms and without confirmation by your Vet.
Because symptoms such as slowing down and excess sleep might sometimes be an age-related issue.
When we talk about dog arthritis age, there is no exact number to say. Any dog over one year of age has a chance to develop arthritis. But this is a common issue which is seen mostly in middle-aged and senior dogs. Most of the older dogs are affected with arthritis with variation in the degree of severity.
But this does not mean younger dogs do not develop this condition. Younger dogs are at risk of developing arthritis due to injuries of the joints. In many cases, excessive stress and trauma can also lead to degeneration of the joint cartilage.
In some cases, some underlying and inherited diseases such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia can also lead to arthritis during a younger age itself.
Starting And Raising A Family
If you’re taking medicines for rheumatoid arthritis, let your healthcare team know if you want to start a family or you’re worried about becoming pregnant while taking medicine.
Some medicines, such as methotrexate, leflunomide and biological treatments should not be taken by men or women while they’re trying for a baby.
Your heathcare team will work with you to try to keep your rheumatoid arthritis under control while you’re trying to get pregnant.
Babies and young children are physically and mentally demanding for any parent, but particularly if you have rheumatoid arthritis.
If you’re struggling to cope, it may help to talk to other people in the same situation as you.
You may also be able to get extra support from your health visitor or occupational therapist to help you manage your young family.
Pain, discomfort and changes in the way you feel can affect your sex life.
Your self-esteem or thoughts about how you look may affect your confidence.
Although many people find it difficult to talk about such private issues, there are resources that may help you.
Talking to your partner or GP about the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on your sexuality and sexual relationships may help.
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Afternoons With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some days I need a nap or a moment of rest in the afternoon, especially if I struggled to sleep the night before or did too much at some point. But naps are tricky they can often be a double-edged sword. If I am not active enough during the day, I may either pay for it or benefit from it. This causes great anxiety when I have a lot to tackle in a day. How much exercise do I need? How much rest do I need? Too much of each can have a major negative impact on my day or a few days later.
I have to be careful not to over-schedule. A too-busy day will often result in an increase in pain during the evening and require a rest day or two after. A busy day would be a day when I have more than two or three things to do, such as housecleaning, a playdate for my son, a doctor visit, running an errand, plans with a friend or a date. A busy day for me might be a regular day, or even a light day, for someone otherwise healthy. The simplest of tasks or stress can feel like climbing a mountain and wipe me out.
Should You Walk A Dog With Arthritis
Many dog owners get this doubt regarding exercising their arthritic dog. They worry if exercises like walking can affect their dogs condition in a negative way. Actually yes, when you exercise a dog with arthritis in a wrong way, it can make the condition too worse.
Then what about walking. Walking is one of the best low impact exercises for your dog. But walking doesnt mean a continuous 5-mile walk. The amount of walking should depend upon the health condition of your dog. Whether your dog is able to do it or if it is suffering in pain. It is necessary to analyze the condition of your dog while taking him for a walk.
Some dogs might not be able to perform continuous walking, In such cases, breaks between the walk may be necessary. Other exercises such as hydrotherapy and swimming activities can also be very soothing for your dogs joints.
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How To Prevent Arthritis In Dogs
As a famous quote says, prevention is better than cure. It is always better to try preventing issues like arthritis rather than trying to manage life with arthritis. But actually, is it possible to prevent arthritis? Yes, preventing arthritis in dogs is possible.
1. There are ways to minimize the risk and make sure that your dog doesnt get affected by arthritis. The first thing you could do is to check the family history of your puppy while bringing it to your family.
It is essential to check the lineage of your dog and previous cases of joint issues in the dogs family history. By doing this, you can rule out the genetic factor possibility that causes arthritis.
2. One of the other reasons why your dog could be affected with arthritis is the rapid growth rate of its body. When you feed your dog with excess food or an excessive nutritious diet, it makes the puppy grow too faster than its required growth rate.
This rapid growth cannot be handled by the bones that are not fully developed. These feeding mistakes can lead to orthopaedic problems in your dog.
3. In some cases, arthritis may develop due to an underlying injury that has occurred when the dog is young. If those injuries dont heal properly, they may lead to arthritis in later life.
Hence it is important that your dog gets fully healed from any of those injuries. It is always safe to discourage activities such as excess jumping, excess running before the puppys bones and joints are fully matured.