Thursday, May 23, 2024

How To Care For Someone With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dont Forget To Take Care Of Yourself

How To Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis ( RA ) : Know The Best Treatment

When youre so focused on taking care of someone else, it can be easy to neglect your own needs but doing that doesnt help anyone. Being a caregiver for someone with RA can be challenging, Brackett says. It can be very stressful, resulting in feelings of sadness, losing sleep, or even suffering physical ailments such as headaches. This condition requires not only physical support, but also emotional support ensuring that the person living with RA is relaxed, comfortable and staying as positive as possible.

Dont Say: Go Gluten Free Or Stop Eating Sugar

This May, at the age of 15, Charlie Kaufmann was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis and hospitalized for six weeks. The unsolicited advice he received was immediate, in particular, about what not to eat. Im a teenager, Charlie says. So when people tell me to cut out gluten or red meat, I think, I just want to eat pizza and burgers with my friends!

Many people in the arthritis community cut out gluten because they think it can help relieve their symptoms, but the relationship between RA and gluten is controversial. There seems to be a connection between people who have celiac disease an autoimmune disorder in which your body cannot digest gluten and other autoimmune diseases, but there isnt good scientific proof that people with RA or other kinds of arthritis who dont have celiac will necessarily benefit from avoiding gluten.

There is some evidence that too much sugar is bad for RA. For example, a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 63 percent greater risk of developing RA than women who never or rarely consumed the stuff. A diet filled with excess sugar is also bad for weight management and is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, which RA patients are more vulnerable to.

I Decided To Start A Masters Degree In Education Studies

After I took some time off from work to come to terms with my diagnosis and find the right medication, I found a job in adult education, a field I had worked in for years helping vulnerable adults. I also decided to start a masters degree in education studies, and I am about to start my final dissertation now.

My physical health hasnt always been good, and I have had ups and downs with my medication. Despite this, I joined a netball team in 2019 and played in the local netball league with a group of other peoplemostly moms. I absolutely loved being part of a team and feeling healthy. Every now and again I have a bad week or month and need to take care of myself. But I wont let it stop me from trying new things, like starting my new fashion Instagram account, where I share my love of clothes and how they make me feel. Joanna A., 38

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What Can Help You Continue To Work

Work is an important part of life for many people, not only because they need to earn money. If you’re satisfied with your working environment, a job often helps people feel like they are doing something useful and is good for their self-confidence. In addition to earning your own money, being around other people at work is often very important too.

Continuing to do their job can help also help distract people from their symptoms and help show them that not everything in their life has to revolve around their disease. Some people even report that their job has become more important to them since developing rheumatoid arthritis, and that they’d rather do less in their free time than give up their work.

If the disease does affect your work, it may be helpful to talk with your boss or coworkers. Your employer may be able to help in some way, for instance by making changes to your workplace or adjusting your break times or deadlines for certain tasks. If changes have to made at your workplace, your state pension insurance may cover the costs in some circumstances.

Dont Say: Just Rest Up And Youll Feel Better

Searching For Helpful Arthritis Tips? Look Below ...

Wrong! insists Stefanie Foster Freeman, a holistic health coach and author of Lifes a Journey, Are You Packed? Living and Thriving with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. You definitely dont want to stiffen up. Moving actually helps my joints to feel better. Every patient has different limits when it comes to exercise, but the research is pretty clear that for most people with RA, its important to move as much as possible to maintain flexibility, get good sleep, and keep that heart healthy.

My doctor told me Id never run a marathon, and hes right, Im not going to run a marathon.

Though my friend called me bloated at dinner, she didnt know that I work out four to five times per week and do intense HIIT training. I cant run or jump but I modify the circuits and do as much as I can. Other RA patients find Pilates, walking, swimming, tai chi, weight lifting, or even cross country skiing, to be easiest on the joints. How RA patients choose to exercise is between them and their doctor.

Recommended Reading: How To Keep Arthritis At Bay

How You Can Help

  • Try and get them to talk about how they feel and show you understand and are there for them. If they are depressed persuade them to visit their GP and go with them. Dont let them just soldier on.
  • Help them to do some form of exercise however small as it will help them stay mobile. Offer your support, emotional or physical as they may have lost confidence in themselves.
  • Constant pain is debilitating so help them learn ways to relax and stay positive. Remind them of what they Can do to stay positive.
  • Offer help, be it personal care or everyday activities, rather than wait to be asked.
  • Find out organisations that can help them with daily life tasks e.g. Disability Living Associations, mobility aids, local support groups and pain clinics.
  • Take them or arrange transport for their appointments.
  • Ensure that they are taking prescribed medication correctly.
  • If possible make sure they are eating a healthy diet, with regular meals and portion sizes.
  • Learn as much as you can about their type of arthritis so that you have an understanding of what is happening to them and the difficulties they may have.

Living with constant pain and fatigue can be depressing and sometimes those closest to a person living with arthritis dont realise the toll it takes on them.

If you think that Arthritis Actions self-management approach might help, you can find out more here. You can also phone on 02037 817120 or email

Respect The Persons Pain

This sounds obvious: Of course you know the person youre caring for is in pain. But Nicole Brackett, care delivery and education manager at Homewatch CareGivers, says that theres more to it than that. As an in-home caregiver for someone with RA, it is important to understand that pain from arthritis can be very debilitating, she tells SheKnows. Its also important to advise people to respect pain, as pain is a red flag that tries to get our attention so that we can address whatever is going on.

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Make Your Office Work For You

Whether youâre on your feet all day or sit in front of a computer, use these tips to feel better.

Pay attention to posture. Good posture is extra important with RA. If yours is off, even if youâre sitting, it will stress your joints and can boost fatigue. Instead, imagine a string running from the ceiling to the top of your head. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders along that string. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your pelvis upright donât let it tilt forward or backward. And donât lock your knees.

Mix up positions and tasks. If you work at a desk, make a point of getting up and moving around throughout the day. Stretch in your chair, go for a walk at lunchtime, and take the long way to the copier or restroom. If you can, switch between standing and sitting. If your job involves repetitive movement, such as turning bolts on machinery or typing, break it up with other duties if possible. Switch back and forth between light and heavy tasks.

Tweak your stance. If you stand for most of the day, put one foot on a step, a low stool, or a book so that itâs a little higher than the other. This helps keep your pelvis in alignment. Switch feet every now and then. Wear shoes with good cushioning and support, and keep heels an inch high or less. Special inserts may also help. Organize your work area so that you don’t have to lift, reach, or carry too much. If you work in different areas, consider an apron or tool belt to carry the items you need.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Nursing Care Plans

How does care for people with rheumatoid arthritis need to develop?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in your joints. It is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease that involves the connective tissues and characterized by destruction and proliferation of synovial membrane resulting in joint destruction, ankylosis, and deformity.

No one knows what causes rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers speculate that a virus may initially trigger the bodys immune response, which then becomes chronically activated and turns on itself . Immunologic mechanisms appear to play an important role in the initiation and perpetuation of the disease in which spontaneous remissions and unpredictable exacerbations occur. RA is a disorder of the immune system and, as such, is a whole-body disease that can extend beyond the joints, affecting other organ systems, such as the skin and eyes.

Also Check: Is Peanut Bad For Arthritis

Dont Say: You Should Try Yoga

In addition to their vociferous diet opinions, the peanut gallery has too many opinions about how people with RA should get exercise. A very common misconception is that yoga would be good for all people with rheumatoid arthritis, because of the stretching. This may be true for some, but not others.

When Jennifer, 44, was diagnosed three years ago, everyone was always telling me I should do yoga, despite the fact that her wrists were tender and sore. No, I shouldnt. Putting all of my weight on my inflamed joints is not helpful, shed reply. Theyd say, You need to strengthen your wrists. To which she would respond, No, I dont. I have a disease thats in my blood and attacks my joints. I dont have weak joints!

Next Steps & Resources:


  • J Nutr. 2014 Jul 144:1037-42. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.189480. Epub 2014 Apr 17. Dietary intake of advanced glycation end products did not affect endothelial function and inflammation in healthy adults in a randomized controlled trial. Semba RD1, Gebauer SK2, Baer DJ2, Sun K3, Turner R3, Silber HA3, Talegawkar S4, Ferrucci L5, Novotny JA2.
  • Autoimmun Rev. 2018 Sep 10. pii: S1568-997230210-6. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2018.05.009. Are we really what we eat? Nutrition and its role in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Philippou E1, Nikiphorou E2.
  • Adv Nutr. 2017 Jan 17 8:54-62. doi: 10.3945/an.116.013912. Print 2017 Jan. Formation of Fructose-Mediated Advanced Glycation End Products and Their Roles in Metabolic and Inflammatory Diseases. Gugliucci A1.
  • Neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment causes obesity, diabetes, and macrovesicular steatohepatitis with liver nodules in DIAR mice. Tsuneyama K1, Nishida T, Baba H, Taira S, Fujimoto M, Nomoto K, Hayashi S, Miwa S, Nakajima T, Sutoh M, Oda E, Hokao R, Imura J.
  • Rheumatology . 2013 May 52:856-67. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes376. Epub 2013 Jan 3. The protective effect of alcohol on developing rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scott IC1, Tan R, Stahl D, Steer S, Lewis CM, Cope AP.

Read Also: How To Reduce Arthritis And Joint Pain

Use Heat And Cold To Relieve Pain

Applying heat, either with a heating pad or warm water, can help relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain temporarily, the Mayo Clinic says. Katy says that taking regular baths with generous handfuls of Epsom salt helps ease her pain and stiffness.

Samantha sometimes uses a heating pad and she also swims in a heated pool when she is feeling well enough. When I get into an 80-degree pool, all the pain goes away, she says. I dont do it more often because of all the pain it takes to get to the pool. She also has a bathtub that she uses occasionally to get some relief.

On the flip side, exposure to cold temperatures may also reduce pain and inflammation, says the Mayo Clinic, which suggests using cold packs on your muscles after intense exercise. Be sure to put something between your skin and the pack to protect yourself.

What Benefits Are We Entitled To

Easy Ways to Treat Arthritis

You might be entitled to benefits if youre helping to look after someone with arthritis.

Carers Allowance is available to people who look after someone for more than 35 hours a week. For more information, visit the governments web pages about Carers Allowance. The NHS also has some information about benefits for carers.

The person you know who has arthritis might be entitled to various state benefits to help cover the cost of living with arthritis.

We have information about the main benefits people with arthritis can claim. You and the person you want to help could have a look at the information on these pages about potential financial support and benefits available.

The Disability Service Centre can offer advice or information about some benefits.

The Benefit Enquiry Line provides advice and information for people about some benefits in Northern Ireland.

If you have any questions or concerns about what benefits you, or someone you know with arthritis, might be entitled to you could contact Citizens Advice. This is a network of charities that can offer people advice on a wide range of issues, including benefits.

Recommended Reading: Can Popping Your Fingers Cause Arthritis

Dont Say: This Would Go Away If Youd Just Lose Weight

People seem to think that because I am a large person, I brought RA on myself, says Seeber. While this might be true, its incredibly dismissive. Weight loss is certainly a good idea and would help solve a lot of my health issues. The thing is, doing so while one is in a great deal of pain on a daily basis is very difficult if not impossible. Ive lost weight many times usually in short bursts when my pain is better but always gain it back when I am in pain and cant move as much. So its kind of a catch-22. If I could lose weight, my RA would improve. If I could just get rid of some of this RA pain, I could exercise more and lose weight. When people point out weight loss as an easy solution to RA, they dont have the whole picture.

Care Of The Patient With Arthritis

The purpose of this activity is to educate the CNA in the most common types of arthritis, signs and symptoms of the disease and how to manage their patients who are effected.

After completing this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe arthritis and the prevalence
  • Discuss the most common types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Describe management of the arthritic patient
  • Recognize what should be reported to the nurse
  • Nursing Assistants from California, only.

  • Take test and pass with a score of at least 80%
  • Reflect on practice impact by completing self-reflection, self-assessment and course evaluation.
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    Easy Methods To Handle Rheumatoid Arthritis

    There is no such thing as a everlasting remedy for rheumatoid arthritis however drugs may also help in managing the situation properly. To forestall the long-term penalties, you will need to diagnose and deal with rheumatoid arthritis in the intervening time. The kind of remedy your physician will select is closely decided by a number of elements comparable to age, medical historical past, the severity of the situation, and so forth. Nonetheless, non-pharmacological therapies as instructed by your physician may also help together with the medications-

    The initially step in direction of therapeutic the infected joints is ample relaxation when the joints are infected, the possibilities of accidents multiply its best suggested to take correct relaxation throughout this situation and keep away from strenuous actions.

    One other vital level is doing common workout routines. Individuals withrheumatoid arthritis typically turn into inactive and lose their effectivity in transferring, which ends up in contractions. Due to this fact, you will need to bask in workout routines that improve insurance coverage and restores joint motion, comparable to strolling, biking, and swimming.

    Cold and warm remedies comparable to heating pads, ice therapeutic massage, or heat baths assist to offer reduction to infected joints and calm down the drained muscle mass. Coldwater baggage deal with swollen joints as they numb the world and scale back irritation.

    • Vitamin and dietary remedy

    How Can I Help Someone With The Physical Challenges Of Arthritis

    7 Helpful Hand Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Beginner Hand Workout

    You may not be able to do much to ease your friend, partner, relative or colleagues pain, stiffness, fatigue or any other physical symptom.

    They may well need to see a healthcare professional to talk about treatment options.

    You might be able to talk things through with them. Things you might be able to discuss are:

    • Are they on the best treatment for them? There are treatment and pain relief options for every type of arthritis. You might be able to help your friend find out about these and encourage them to discuss them with their doctor.
    • Are they able to keep active? Is there any support healthcare professionals could offer in terms of staying active? This might be something you could help with, either in terms of offering support and motivation, or offering to go for a walk, swim or to the gym with them.

    If a particular activity is causing problems, encourage the person youre trying to help to see if there is a different way of doing that task, or if there are aids and adaptations that might help.

    If they want to, you could have a chat about the tasks theyre struggling with and write a list of possible solutions and ways to avoid problems. You might be able to help with some, if thats what they want and youre willing and able to.

    The person youre helping might benefit from seeing a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.

    An occupational therapist can help people with arthritis with tasks theyre finding difficult, at home, school or in the workplace.

    Recommended Reading: Can You Exercise With Arthritis

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