Health

Habits For Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Human lives are vulnerable to diseases. The only way we can keep ourselves healthy, and our body functioning is by adopting a lifestyle that supports sound… Trista - November 15, 2019

Human lives are vulnerable to diseases. The only way we can keep ourselves healthy, and our body functioning is by adopting a lifestyle that supports sound living. With passing age, there are plenty of ailments that can capture your body and make you incapable of doing your day-to-day routines. It is essential to know about these diseases and the impact they pose on your life. 

Among all the prominent diseases that can significantly affect your mental and physical well being, autoimmune diseases are the ones wherein your body becomes your enemy. In autoimmune disease, your immune system loses its capacity to fight off the infection and turn against your body by attacking your healthy cells. These autoimmune diseases can take a dangerous turn when left unattended. It is essential to detect the symptoms at the early stages so that proper care and treatment can be deployed to dampen its effects. 

Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints. Pixabay

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

It is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that directly affects your joints. It is long term and progressive autoimmune disorder that causes severe inflammation, pain, swelling in your joints, and other organs such as heart, skin, lungs, eyes, and blood vessels. It majorly affects wrists, elbows, hips, knees, and shoulders. The common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include stiffness of joints when you wake up in the morning or after sitting for long, fatigue throughout the day, and constant irritation. Below is the list of all the symptoms that can be witnessed in rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Swelling, pain, and stiffness of joints
  • Fatigue 
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint deformity
  • Unbalanced walking
  • Weak knees and ankles
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Loss of mobility
  • Symmetrical joint involvement

Though these symptoms are quite common and can arise due to plenty of other reasons, it is crucial to pay heed to them at the earliest in order to get better treatment. Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with several treatment methods such as medications, therapies, and exercises, but first, you need to detect the symptoms. Connect with your doctor to find the ideal treatment for your case.

There is no specific cause for this autoimmune disease. Pixabay

What Actually Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There are no particular causes that are known to cause rheumatoid arthritis in people. Some genetic mutations are often found to be responsible for creating rheumatoid arthritis in several people. The only theory scientists have about rheumatoid arthritis is that bacteria or viruses trigger it in people who have some genetic deformity. The immune system attacks the synovium, a smooth lining of the joint when this lining corroded by the antibodies it causes severe inflammation in the joint. 

The inflammation further thickens the synovium. If rheumatoid arthritis is not detected and treated at the right time, it can severely damage the cartilages and worsen the situation. Rheumatoid arthritis, at its worse, can affect the tendons and ligaments that connect the joints. When it is stretched, it can lose its shape and configuration, resulting in several joint deformities and ailments in people.

There are a few risk factors that may increase your chances of having RA. Pixabay

Risk Factors That Can Lead to Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is no hard and fast rule regarding who can get rheumatoid arthritis, but there are some instances and cases that have found specific groups of people that are more likely to get affected by this autoimmune disease. Below are the risk factors that can possibly lead to rheumatoid arthritis:-

  • Age: Though rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, people in their 50s and 60s are more vulnerable to this autoimmune disorder. 
  • Sex: Compared to men, women are more prone to rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Family History: If any of your family members has rheumatoid arthritis, then there are chances you might also get affected. 
  • Smoking: Smoking is another significant risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, smoking has the potential to make the disease even more severe.
  • Environmental Exposure: Exposure to some ecological elements can also increase the chances of rheumatoid arthritis, such as asbestos or silica. For instance, the workers exposed to the dust and debris of the World Trade Center attack are more prone to catching rheumatoid arthritis.
RA can cause other painful conditions. Pixabay

What Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Possibly Do?

Though there are possible treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, when things get out of control, this autoimmune disease can turn into a severe issue. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of several other joint ailments such as osteoporosis, a condition when your bones are weak and prone to fracture. Rheumatoid nodules are yet another significant ailment that causes bumps of tissues in your body, including lungs. 

Rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to infection resulting from severe inflammation. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be deemed as a major consequence of rheumatoid arthritis when the effect of inflammation compresses the nerves of your hands and fingers. Rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to heart and lung disease. 

The inflammation can block arteries, scar the lung tissues, shortness of breath, and cause other issues. At its worst, rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of lymphoma. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect your mental health as well. If prevailing for a long time, this autoimmune disease can lead to depression and anxiety. Lack of concentration and memory can be counted as the significant mental consequences of rheumatoid arthritis. If you have Rheumatoid arthritis, you are also vulnerable to diabetes, as well.

You need to focus on your health and happiness. Pixabay

How To Keep Up With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is not an incurable disease; you can certainly tame the symptoms and get back to your healthy life by taking the right treatment. The condition can take a severe toll on your life and rheumatoid arthritis.

Affecting both your mental and physical health, Rheumatoid arthritis can significantly impact your lifestyle. Hence, it is essential to adopt the best practices to stay healthy and happy even when you are suffering from this autoimmune disorder. Staying positive towards everything is extremely important to ward off your disease. Take a look at the below list of tips to make your healthy and happy around rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure to follow them diligently to get the best results.

Having a balanced diet will help with RA. Pixabay

Eat Well

If you are looking to make your life better while suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, then the first towards achieving it is to start eating healthy. There’s no doubt in asserting that healthy food contributes to a healthy life. Hence you must start prioritizing the food items that can provide you with the required nutrition, vitamins, and minerals to keep yourself healthy. From vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, to other lean proteins, never say no to good food.

As rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints, it is essential to increase the intake of food items that will help in strengthening your bones and joints. Fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines, are considered ideal for treating rheumatoid arthritis. They are highly rich in omega-3 fatty acids that potentially dampen the inflammatory sensations. Other than that, you can get your plateful with broccoli, spinach, berries, ginger, garlic, grapes, and others.

Exercise is important for all ages. Pixabay

Exercise Your Way Out

There’s no better way to keep up with rheumatoid arthritis than by strengthening your muscles and joints. The ideal to keep your joints and muscles strong is to follow an exercise regime that involves the movements of joints and muscles. Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful experience, but you should never hesitate to start moving your joint through exercise, as it will only help in making things better for your condition. Even doctors recommend exercise as the most beneficial treatment to relieve joint pain and stiffness.

You can start with a little stretching and brisk walking to make your body accustomed to the exercising regime. Stretching will help in making your muscles and joints flexible and reduce the stiffness by increasing the motion. You can create your own stretching frequency according to your own pace. Just like stretching, you can start walking daily. Keep yourself hydrated and start walking for at least 30 minutes a day. You can also consult your doctor to understand the best exercise for your specific condition. 

Not getting enough rest at night can affect your health. Pixabay

Give Ample Time To Sleep

Though staying active is an important criterion to keep up with your rheumatoid arthritis, it is equally essential to rest your body in order to keep in rejuvenated. No matter where you are and what you might be doing, it is vital to complete 8 hours of sleep daily. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, the pain and discomfort might make affect your sleeping routine. Compromising your sleep can result in increasing the severity of the symptoms. Hence, it is crucial to complete your rest as much as possible.

If you are not able to sleep properly or suffer from insomnia, there are ways through which you can dampen its effects. Cutting out caffeine from your diet is the most effective means of treating insomnia. It activates the brain cells and restricts you from taking a nap. Avoiding alcohol is also proven to be a great way to control your insomnia. Among all, meditation is the ideal way to keep your insomnia at bay. Take time to practice meditation, focus on breathing, and try keeping your mind and body relaxed. 

Participating in physical therapy can help with RA. Pixabay

Go For Physical Therapy

Rheumatoid arthritis is a joint-related ailment, and apart from the medications, physical therapy can work as a wonder for the issue. Keeping your joints and muscles physically active and making them as flexible as possible is the right way to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Physical therapy can help in making your joints and muscles stronger and make your condition better by each day. Consult your rheumatologist to locate the best physical therapist for yourself. Additionally, there are plenty of physical therapy centers that can assist you in framing complete therapy for your condition.

Physical therapy is a great way to learn the right posture and body mechanics to keep your joints and muscles flexible. It not only helps in relieving the pain, but it also improves joint functions as well. It will assist you in ascertaining the proper ways to use different devices to get the best benefits out of it. Physical therapy also vouches for ergonomic chairs and cushioned mats to lessen the pain and stress on your joints and muscles.

Try to quit today. Pixabay

Check Your Smoking and Drinking Habit

Do you have a smoking habit? Can you not survive without consuming alcohol every day? If yes, then it might be a severe concern for your rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking can make rheumatoid arthritis worse for you. As mentioned earlier, smoking is one of the risk factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and it can make your RA worse for you. The probability of getting into severe stages of rheumatoid arthritis is much higher in a person who smokes excessively than in a person who has never smoked. Smoking increases the effects of inflammation and causes extreme joint pain. Tobacco content in a cigarette is very high that can even contaminate your blood and lead to several other severe ailments.

Alcohol consumption is not as severe as smoking, but keeping it in control is essential to make sure it doesn’t affect your rheumatoid arthritis. If you are a casual drinker who drinks once in a blue moon, then it might be permitted. Consult your doctor if you consume alcohol and ascertain whether your consumption is in limit or not. There are many RA drugs and medicines that don’t work correctly with alcohol. Hence, it is essential to keep a check on your alcohol habits.  

A heating pad and cooling compress will become your best friends. Pixabay

Use Coolness And Warmth 

Joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis can be painful. The inflammation in the joint can generate severe pain, stiffness, and swelling. There are plenty of ways through which you can lessen the suffering. The most organic and effective way to relieve the pain is hot and cold therapy. Though they cannot wholly eradicate the flares of rheumatoid arthritis, they can significantly dampen the pain and inflammation experienced by you on a daily basis. Even doctors and physical therapists recommend hot and cold therapists to people who have rheumatoid arthritis to soothe the stiffness and pain and increase mobility as well. 

The temperature change will help in easing out the achy joints. Soaking in warm water, taking a hot water bath, using a heating pad can help in easing out the tensed muscles. Just like a hot treatment, using a cold pack or cool compress will aid in chilling the fiery joints. Hot and cold therapy is hugely beneficial to relieve chronic joint pain. They are also useful in making your joints even more flexible than before. Make sure to follow the right practice of hot and cool treatment as the slightest mistake can cause you severe pain.

You are not alone. Pixabay

Discuss Your Condition With Loved Ones

It is a common trait that is witnessed in people dealing with a chronic disease is that they often close themselves up and reduce their interactions. Though speaking to people and discussing your anxieties cannot provide a complete solution to your issue, it can undoubtedly bring a wave of satisfaction and emotional elation. Keeping your mind sane is equally important as keeping your physical wellness at check. If your mind is going through trauma, anxiety, and depression due to the disease, it is essential to do the best to keep your mind diverted. 

Engage with your family, spend more time with your loved one, and share your apprehensions with them. It will not only make you feel lighter, but it will also help you in getting a better and positive perspective towards your issue. It’s good to share your sufferings and get a pep talk from your loved one. As they will come to know more about your condition, they can bring up better alternatives to combat the disease in a better way. After all, it’s always good to have someone by your side. 

Discuss medication options with your doctor. Pixabay

Be Patient And Let The Medicines Work

There are medicines and treatments for rheumatoid arthritis that can ease the major symptoms of this autoimmune disease. From fatigue, stiffness, and chronic pain, medications can help in giving you the required relief, but don’t expect them to work overnight. Medicines don’t work like magic, and it takes a specific course of time to start realizing the effects of RA medicines. You need to accurately follow the dosage and remain faithful to your doctor’s prescriptions. You need to stay patient and wait until the drugs start to offer its effectiveness. 

Never expect them to start working the moment you consume them. Medicines are made to serve a specific purpose. Hence, you should not ask the pain relief medicine to lessen the stiffness. Consult your doctor correctly before getting any medication and learn all the details about the drugs, how it should be taking, and how it will affect your condition. Some RA medicines need special care and attention while consuming. 

Take some time to travel and enjoy your life. Pixabay

Travel To Places

Do not let your disease affect your dreams and desires. It is true that rheumatoid arthritis flares are unpredictable, but don’t let them ruin your plans. Traveling can help in keeping your mind and body rejuvenated. Rheumatoid arthritis should never be a barrier between your traveling ideas. Traveling doesn’t only mean going to a foreign country and do adventurous sports. It also includes exploring places you have never visited before, be it a city or a newly opened restaurant by the corner of the street. It is essential to get out and feel the fresh air. 

If you have had rheumatoid arthritis, it doesn’t mean you have to cancel all your plans and stay at home. You can also consult with your doctor and ascertain the safe frequency of your travel. If you are planning to travel abroad, no worries, just get the right vaccinations from your doctor and don’t forget to take the essential medicines along with you. When in doubt, always bring along a friend who can look after you and knows everything about your condition. 

They call stress a silent killer for a reason. Pixabay

Say Goodbye To Your Stress

Your mental health is equally important as your physical well being, don’t let this autoimmune disease ruin your mental peace. Stress and anxiety come along with every sickness, and rheumatoid arthritis is no different. There are ample chances for you to get mentally affected by the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Taking the stress and remaining apprehensive about the disease will only make things even worse. 

Scientists have proven that stress and rheumatoid arthritis are closely connected. It is found that stress reacts with the inflammation and tends to increase its effect. Hence, it is advised to take no stress as much as possible. There are specific ways through which you can deal with your stress issues. For instance, adopt yoga and meditation practice and make it a daily routine. Stay away from things and situations that can result in severe stress and depression. Engage in things that make you happy and keep your stress away. Taking stress is never a solution to any problem. Hence it would be best if you steered clear from burden in order to safeguard your mental.

Reducing clutter in your home can help reduce your stress. Pixabay

Keep Your Life Organized

Your way of living creates a significant difference in your medical condition. Staying organized and doing things in a well-planned manner will bring a sense of discipline to your life that will eventually improve your medical state. Rather than scattering reports and records here and there, you must keep them in a file/journal, so that you can reach out to them whenever required. Keep your room as tidy as possible. From bed, furniture, books, to your wardrobe, everything must be kept in a neat manner. 

Keep track of your doctor’s visit. Get a notebook to chart the doctor’s appointment, make journal entries of your pain, and the impact of medications so that you can discuss it with your doctor in the next visit. Staying organized will make things easier for you and create less chaos in your day-to-day life. Often a messy life can result in severe stress that you possibly can’t afford while suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. If your life is not organized, it will affect your medical health, as well. Hence, it is advised to remain well organized, be it your life or room. 

Even if you have RA, you can still be active doing the things you like. Pixabay

Rekindle Your Hobbies

As mentioned earlier, never let your disease take a toll on your personal life. Though your condition can make you incapable of doing certain things, or the joint pain can restrict you from performing a specific activity, there’s always a silver lining among the darkest clouds. The ideal way to live your best life with rheumatoid arthritis is to divert your mind as much as possible. Try to indulge in things that make you happy. 

You can think of rekindling your hobbies, which you once forgot amidst the strenuous life. Whether it is painting, singing, or cycling, never suppress your hobbies or try to avoid them in the name of a disease. Instead, engaging in your hobbies will help in providing you with the required motivation and energy to fight off this autoimmune disease. When you remain physically and mentally occupied, the severe symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis will tend to affect you less. If you want to combat rheumatoid arthritis without losing yourself, then it’s high time you start prioritizing your hobbies. 

Despite the symptoms of RA, try to live a healthy, social life. Pixabay

Don’t Forget To Socialize

When you are suffering from a disease like rheumatoid arthritis, it tends to limit your social interactions. Whether to blame your chronic pain or mood swings pertaining to the illness, you often feel like going out and socialize with people. While socializing is not a mandatory step to treat rheumatoid arthritis, it can make a significant difference in your mental being. When you go out in public and interact with people, it will automatically strengthen your mental capabilities. 

Engaging more with people will expose you to new ideas and perspectives. Go out with your friends, attend a social event, visit malls and other public places now and then. Human interactions will only help you cope with the sufferings and better your situation in the most efficient ways. You can also bring your gang home to spend quality time and have your little social gathering in the comfort of your home. 

Discuss your condition with a doctor. Pixabay

Visit Your Doctor Regularly

Your doctor is just like your friend. Telling all your apprehensions and sufferings honestly will help the doctor better understand your condition. Make a proper routine for visiting your doctor. Not just visiting him when you feel anything serious, but you must also have a conversation when everything is going good. Many people hesitate to visit their doctor regularly as they think it is unnecessary to bother your doctor without any reason. But, in reality, it is the most beneficial thing you can do to yourself and your health. 

Ask your doctor the best time to visit and jot down all your queries before going. As mentioned earlier, making a journal to record your experiences can help explain your troubles to your doctor better. Make a proper routine of visiting your doctor and set a reminder to visit them without fail. It is often said that you must not hide anything from your doctor. So, be open and frank when you visit your doctor.

Maintaining a healthy weight can help with other conditions, too. Pixabay

Manage Weight

Rheumatoid arthritis is all about suffering the pain caused by the severe inflammation in joints. Your body weight can severely affect your rheumatoid arthritis condition. Being overweight and obese can add to pain and suffering. Hence, it is vital to keep a check on your body weight and keep it under control. Even if your weight is 10 pounds more than the required weight, then those 10 pounds can exert extreme pressure on your knee joints that will eventually increase the intensity of pain as well. 

It is vital to take control of your body weight and keep it under control to not make your situation worse. It is found that obese people are more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than the ones who have moderate weight. There are plenty of ways through which you can control your body weight and give relief to your joint pain. Make sure to engage in different exercising and weight loss regime to control your weight. Consult your dietician to prepare a dedicated diet to lose weight in the most organic way. 

Make time for yourself! Pixabay

Take Care Of Yourself

It’s you who can take care of your health and well being better than anyone else. Rheumatoid arthritis is not an incurable disease, but it should be taken seriously. It would help if you took care of yourself by all means. From taking medicines at the right time, eating healthy food, keeping your mind sane to visiting your doctor and letting all apprehensions out, you must do everything to keep yourself healthy. It is also essential to avoid injuries and accidents, as it will only make your condition worse. Avoid doing things that might hurt you physically. 

Make a daily routine for yourself and do things in an organized manner. Never lose your hope and keep fighting the disease in the best way possible. Keep yourself busy and engage in things that give you happiness. Rheumatoid arthritis is not a life-threatening disease; life goes on even after you are diagnosed with this autoimmune disease. The best way to escape or lessen the pain is to keep living your life the way it was before this disease.

You can live a happy, productive life with rheumatoid arthritis. Pixabay

Stay Healthy And Be Happy!

It is quite evident that a disease can severely hamper your physical and mental being. Not just weakening you physically, it can severely impede your morale as well. Rheumatoid arthritis is not an incurable and does not pose some grave danger if appropriately managed. It depends on you to take charge of your life and live as healthy and happy as possible to ward off this autoimmune disease.

The simple potion to lead a healthy lifestyle is to follow a wholesome diet, remain physically active, and keep your stay mentally empowered as much as possible. The above mentioned were some of the tips to live healthy rheumatoid arthritis and to stay clear from the severe consequences of this inflammatory disorder.

 

 

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