Self Managing Your Rheumatoid Arthritis
What a co-incidence!! Today is World Arthritis Day and yesterday I was diagnosed of Rheumatism. No,I am not upset but am rather relieved to know that I finally have what I was waiting for…. since years altogether. Yes, rheumatism runs in the family so it was pretty evident that I was going to have it some day or other. Nah! I believe its life and anything can happen any day, so perfectly fine. You know what I was thinking while doctor was explaining to me all about rheumatism,”Thank God I have lost weight, otherwise doctor would have lectured me on the importance of losing weight too. 😛 ” Any how now I have to think of self managing my arthritis. So I am going to talk about that today.
I started seeing signs of rheumatism some fifteen years back but despite of getting all kinds of x-rays and blood tests done doctors could not conclude anything… so put the blame of all swollen joints and pain in minor hand joints on Thyroid issues. Okay! Seeing me quite my kids told me “fine mamma, part of life and part of ageing,”the way I used to tell them when they used to get hurt in childhood,”Its okay, part of growing up.” As it is if it’s in your genes, can you blame anyone? Moreover, an estimated 57 per cent of people with rheumatoid arthritis are women so congratulate dear me, I am one of the chosen more than half of the human beings. LOL
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis also known as RA is an autoimmune disease. It causes inflammation of the joints and pain especially minor joints of hands and feet. Other parts of the body can also be affected at later stages. Inflammation causes the joints to become painful and swollen causing restricted movement. It is common to face stiffness in the joints especially in the mornings. Actually this inflammation causes harm to joints.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Swelling, pain and redness in the joints
- Stiffness in the joints especially in the morning
- Sleeping difficulties because of the pain
- Weak muscles
- Same joints on both sides of the body are usually affected.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis due to heredity factors is more while Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that means in place of fighting off infections the immune system starts attacking the body’s healthy tissues. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system targets the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and damage to the joints. Swelling is the result of the joints producing too much lubricating fluid (synovial) in response to the inflammation. It is very strange that still no one knows what triggers the body’s immune system to attack the joints.
How to handle Rheumatism?
It is very important to seek timely medical advice in the early stages of the problem as early treatment can help you manage pain more effectively. An early intervention can minimise long-term damage of the joints. So as soon as you feel pain in finger and toe joints please go and see a rheumatologist. You need to accept the fact that there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis but there are many strategies you can use on your own to manage this condition and its symptoms.
To properly manage rheumatoid arthritis, it is helpful to understand the nature of the disease. Self-management courses can help people with rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic (ongoing) conditions to build their skills and confidence to live with the condition.
Other important strategies that can help manage rheumatoid arthritis include:
Do various simple relaxation exercises for easing your muscles.
- Exercising in warm water, strength training and tai chi. (under guidance please)
- Rest can help you to manage joint fatigue especially when joints are swollen.
- People with rheumatoid arthritis must have a healthy and balanced diet to maintain general health.
- Alternate therapies like massage or acupuncture may be helpful but it is advised to consult your rheumatologist before that.
- Fish oil supplements are also helpful as fish oils contain fat called omega-3. Research suggests that omega-3 fats are helpful for people with inflammatory issues like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Nothing can beat the benefits of regular walks, so walk daily as much as you can to keep weight gain under control.
Rheumatoid arthritis is something that I will have to live with now throughout my life as my mother is doing, but what I need now is to manage pain and inflammation well. I am going to research a lot about my new ailment and surely will keep updating you all. Just look around yourself, if any of your friends and family and anyone else around you need help for managing their rheumatism then please today on World Arthritis Day take a pledge to help them whichever way you can. Some ailments just need support from the loved ones.
Are you going to support those who are suffering from Rheumatism Arthritis?
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