What Else Can I Do To Get My Ra Under Control
It can take a little fine-tuning, along with a dose of patience, to get the most out of your RA treatment. Ask yourself these questions to see if you’re doing all you can to get your pain and stiffness under control.
1. Do you take your RA medications on time?
It’s important to keep a regular schedule for your meds. Take them at the same time each day. They work better if you keep a constant level of medicine in your body. Don’t skip a dose because that can trigger a flare.
Keep in mind that some medicines, like methotrexate, can take weeks or months to fully kick in. Try to be patient and give your meds a chance to work.
If you get an upset stomach or other side effects, call your doctor. They can suggest things you can do to feel better.
2. Have you asked your doctor if you’re on the right medicines?
If they used to work and don’t seem to help anymore, it may be time for a change. Some “disease-modifying” drugs may not work as well after a while.
Your doctor may recommend a different prescription or add another type of drug, such as a biologic, to your treatment.
3. Do you keep up with regular checkups?
Some RA drugs affect your immune system — your body’s defense against germs. This helps slow down the disease, but it can make infections more likely, as well as liver and kidney problems.
Make sure you see your doctor for regular blood tests. They help them figure out if you need to tweak your treatment.
4. Have you tried alternative remedies for pain?
Adjusting Workouts And Day
While exercise is important to treating knee osteoarthritis, certain physical activities will aggravate the knee joint. These activities should be avoided and substituted with exercises that exert less force on the knee joint.
- People who do high-impact activities, such as jogging and playing soccer, may want to try yoga, cycling, or swimming.
- Backyard gardeners may want to use raised planters, which require less kneeling and squatting.
If the treatment options described in this article do not adequately reduce knee arthritis symptoms, then a health care provider may recommend considering medications, therapeutic injections, or surgery.
Balancing Rest And Activity
Both work and leisure activities are important but you can overdo them. Take short breaks and alternate heavy and light activities during the day. Pace yourself by learning to balance periods of work with rest breaks so you don’t place too much stress on your joints or get too tired. You may need to take longer or more frequent rest breaks when your disease is more active.
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Why Do Other People’s Perceptions Matter
Many people think of arthritis as an old person’s disease or something that causes minor aches and pains. At the other extreme are those people who believe that nothing can be done for arthritis and that those who get it can expect to end up in a wheelchair. You may be accused of making too much of your arthritis or viewed with pity by people who think you’re on the verge of becoming totally disabled. You may feel put down if you’re told what you can’t do by an uninformed public or a well-meaning family member who just wants to protect you.
The negative perceptions of others may be among the most difficult challenges you have to face. When family and friends misunderstand you they may not be able to provide the support you need.
Misconceptions held by employers and the public can make it more difficult for you to work or get the services you need.
But you don’t have to accept other people’s ideas about you or your illness. Learn as much as you can about arthritis so you can have a realistic attitude about your condition. Then deal with people’s misinformed notions in a positive fashion. At times you may want to ignore comments from misguided friends. At other times you will want to explain your condition as soon as you become aware that someone has misconceptions. In a matter-of-fact way talk about arthritis and how it affects you. By educating others you can help promote a better understanding of arthritis.
Number : Keep Your Senior Moving
The minute a patient is diagnosed with arthritis, the first thought is to let their body rest and not move about too much.
But that is not necessarily the best approach!
In fact, doctors and nurses urge patients with arthritis to keep moving. Why? Because your body wants to move. On the most basic of levels, thats what its made for. And if you dont use an item for whats made for, well, thats when it starts to rust and deteriorate.
You want to constantly encourage your senior to keep moving. If the arthritis is in their hands, have them knit, paint, play an instrument, etc. Or, if the arthritis is in their knees, have them walk! Whatever the method, just make sure your senior is using and stretching the symptomatic areas.
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How To Keep Arthritis Under Control During The Cold Season
By: Delia Tugui
Arthritis can give seniors a pretty hard time during the cold season. Symptoms like joint pain, swelling, joint stiffness and tiredness tend to worsen in the time of autumn and winter, both due to thermal discomfort and lack of physical activity.
But dont worry! There are several easy ways you can manage these issues.
Gout And Calcium Crystal Diseases
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause painful swelling in joints. It typically affects the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the body.
Joints affected by gout can become red and hot. The skin may also look shiny and can peel.
Its caused by having too much urate, otherwise known as uric acid, in the body. We all have a certain amount of urate in our body.
However, being overweight or eating and drinking too much of certain types of food and alcoholic drinks can cause some people to have more urate in their bodies. The genes you inherit can make you more likely to develop gout.
If it reaches a high level, urate can form into crystals that remain in and around the joint. They can be there for a while without causing any problems and even without the person realising they are there.
A knock to a part of the body or having a fever can lead to the crystals falling into the soft part of the joint. This will cause pain and swelling.
There are drugs that can reduce the amount of urate in the body and prevent gout attacks. Examples are allopurinol and . If youre having a gout attack, youll also need short-term pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as paracetamol can be good drugs to try first.
Men can get gout from their mid-20s, and in women its more common after the menopause. Taking water tablets can increase the risk of gout.
There are also conditions that cause calcium crystals to form in and around joints.
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Stick With A Balanced Diet
You know the drill and have heard it before, but it bears repeating. Vitamin C, fruits and veggies, Omega 3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy oils should all be part of your regular menu.
Take control of what you can to protect your joints and prevent osteoarthritis. This small investment of your time and attention right now will be worth a huge relief to your joints later!
Encourage Movement And Regular Exercise
Seek out exercise or movement classes. The Arthritis Foundation has several great tools to help with this including the Walk with Ease Program and Your Exercise Solution. Even small amounts of movement throughout the day can add up and significantly improve symptoms: laps around the house , chair exercises and stretching. Be sure to consult a healthcare provider before introducing exercise into the routine.
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Ramping Treatment During Ra Flares
With the right combination of treatment, most people with RA can achieve good control of their disease, says Dr. Howard. But even when the disease is controlled, occasional flares can occur.
When rheumatoid arthritis flares, more aggressive treatment may be needed to prevent further problems, according to a 2015 study published in Arthritis Care & Research.
The study, which followed 508 patients who were treated with the specific goal of achieving remission, showed that ramping up treatment may be necessary to prevent functional disability, worsening of pain and morning stiffness, and radiographic progression of the disease, says study author Linda Dirven, PhD of Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands.
If you have a flare, Dirven recommends contacting your rheumatologist, who can determine the best treatment for it. How flares should be treated depends on the treatment the individual patient is currently receiving and previous effectiveness of received treatment, says Dirven. For some patients it may be best to increase the medication dosage while for others the addition of another drug may be best.
Dr. Howard says he often starts patients on a steroid at the start of a flare. If that doesnt work, we increase the disease-modifying agents, he says, and if that doesnt work we often change the type of medication.
When Should A Person With Arthritis Ask For Help
Ask for help when you need it.
Depending on yourself is important. But there may be times when you’ll need assistance. Remember it’s okay to ask for help. Your family or doctor therapist or nurse friends or religious group and many other community agencies are close at hand-ready to help you when you need them.
While it maybe hard to admit that some things are more difficult to do than before it is important to get help when you need it. This is especially true for activities that place a lot of stress on your joints. Your family and friends will understand you better if you share your feelings with them and let them know how they can help you.
You may even find that your family and friends have some of the same emotional reactions to your arthritis as you do. They may feel shut out or frustrated when they aren’t able to help. Tell them that the amount of pain and stiffness you feel varies throughout the day and from day to day. Using a scale from one to 10 to describe feelings helps family members and friends understand changes in severity. Try to involve your family in decisions about sharing chores and making new arrangements of shelves and furniture. Ask your friends for their understanding if you have to change or postpone plans you’ve made.
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What Foods Help Prevent Arthritis
There is no dietary cure for arthritis. Establishing healthy habits are your best bets for trying to prevent the disease. Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of the plan. Try to eat foods that fight inflammation in our bodies and strengthen our bones.
The United States Department of Agriculture suggests eating fish that contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. These include salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines. The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating these fish two or more times a week to reduce inflammation.
The Arthritis Foundation says berries provide arthritis-fighting power. It recommends eating:
The Arthritis Foundation also suggests eating pomegranate fruit because the tannins inside also minimize inflammation in our bodies.
Eating vegetables that lead to less inflammation can also help. Try adding regular servings of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms to your diet. Leave the vegetable or corn oil in the pantry and instead use olive oil and canola oil. They both contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Support From Family And Others
The stress of having a chronic illness may make it hard for you to see problems and their solutions as clearly or as positively as you might otherwise see them.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by problems brought on by arthritis talk with your family and friends. Also consider seeking outside support from your clergy family social worker or counseling psychologist. These professionals are trained to help people break problems down into manageable parts discover ways to solve problems ease frustrations and find constructive ways to work through their problems. Arthritis clubs and support groups are another way in which both men and women who have arthritis are able to get the support they need. These groups are helpful because most people find it easier to share their concerns and experiences with other people who have arthritis.
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If Youve Got Arthritis Youve Probably Experienced The Intense Pain Of Flares Heres How To Handle Them
Youre feeling good, barely thinking about your chronic pain, and then wham an arthritis flare hits you like a Mack truck. These periods of increased disease activity take a toll on you physically and emotionally, especially because they can come on unexpectedly. If youve got either osteoarthritis or an inflammatory type of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, you probably know what were talking about.
So how can you deal with an arthritis flare-up when it happens? I remind myself, This, too, shall pass, arthritis patient Beth Bloomfield told us on Facebook. Like a kidney stone! another patient, Katie Resnick, joked back. Although arthritis flares are never pleasant, there are techniques that can help shorten their duration. Also important: Being able recognize when a flare is starting and avoid the triggers that may cause your flare-ups in the first place.
Arthritis In The Workplace
If arthritis is interfering with your job perhaps there are a few simple changes you could make to ease the pain and stress on your joints while working.
Consider trying the following:
- scheduled rest periods
More specific suggestions on how to manage the symptoms of arthritis at work are included in the articles on work and arthritis and using joints wisely.
If the severity of your symptoms makes it impossible for you to continue working in your present career state vocational rehabilitation agencies can help you discover new job possibilities and assist you with any needed retraining or job placement. State employment offices also provides job referrals. Neither agency charges for its services and both can be found under the “state” listings in your phone book.
For more information about job retraining consult the article on vocational rehabilitation.
Today there are educational programs for people of all ages and for all the reasons people seek education. Most college campuses and other public buildings have made changes that allow and encourage people with physical limitations to participate more fully in their educational programs.
For more information consult the article on college and arthritis.
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Stop Fearing Medications That May Help
Arthritis patients sometimes avoid painkillers because they’re afraid they’ll become addicted to them, or they choose not to use biologic drugs because they fear potential serious side effects. Remember that your healthcare provider would never prescribe something that might hurt you or that you could become dependent on as long as you take it as directed.
Make sure you understand when and how much of your medication you should take, and how you should take it and your arthritis meds should do nothing more than make it easier for you to live comfortably.
Become A Partner In Your Health Care
Even when people have arthritis there still are many ways of taking care to stay healthy. In addition to arthritis treatment you need to consider such things as being at a healthy weight level, limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, exercising daily within your physical limitations, eating a balanced and nutritionally sound diet, and managing stress.
Besides physical health you need to be concerned about your emotional health. The status of your emotional health is based on a variety of factors. How well do you communicate? How do you handle anger guilt worry and fear? How good is your self-image? How are you managing your personal relationships? You’ll need to address these questions on an individual basis. Some people find that they are better able to resolve such issues by seeking professional assistance.
Scientists are not yet sure what role emotions might play in the development and course of arthritis. But people with the disease say that they feel better when they have learned more effective ways of coping with the stress in their lives.
You can become a very important partner in your own health care by creating a satisfying and fulfilling lifestyle by caring for your total health and by understanding that it’s normal to experience emotional ups and downs throughout life. In fact overcoming stressful situations often helps us grow and become better equipped to deal with other life challenges.
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How To Avoid Achy Joints
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. The three main types are osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis , and psoriatic arthritis . Each type develops differently, but all are painful and can lead to joint deformity and a loss of function.
You cant always prevent arthritis. Some causes, such as age, family history, and sex , are out of your control.
However, a few healthy habits can help reduce your risk of developing painful joints as you get older. Many of these practices such as exercising and eating a healthy diet help prevent other diseases, too.
Does Arthritis Affect Women More Often Than Men
Arthritis does affect women more frequently than men. More than 46 million Americans are living with arthritis, and 61 percent of them are women. That means about 28 million women are affected by arthritis in the United States.
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects more women than men in the United States. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center says RA is two to three more times prevalent in women compared to men. Researchers believe hormonal differences between women and men may explain part of the reason.
The good news is there are some steps women can take to try to prevent osteoarthritis. They include:
- Lose weight to reduce pressure being put on knee and hip joints
- Do low-impact exercises to avoid wearing down the cartilage in joints
- Leave high heels in the closet to avoid the pressure they put on ankle joints
- When lifting objects, lift with your legs instead of your back to relieve stress on joints
- Maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D to slow the progression of arthritis
- Stay hydrated to keep cartilage lubricated and functioning smoothly
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