Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted and filed under Health Awareness.

More than a billion people in the US suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a type of arthritis condition that causes severe inflammation, pain, and swelling. Apart from medication, there are various ways to deal effectively with its complications. Making small lifestyle changes down to just changing the way you eat, sleep, and exercise can help a great deal to ease the symptoms and improve both the emotional and physical wellbeing.

Physical Activity – Exercise can greatly benefit patients with rheumatoid arthritis.  Keeping oneself physically active keeps the joint mobility well maintained, improve sleep, and overall mental health.

Research also shows that with the help of exercise the loss of muscle mass can also be slowed down. Stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercises can help improve the heart health and flexibility of joints and muscles.

Improved Sleep –Rheumatoid arthritis patients can suffer from sleep problems due to stiffness and pain of the joints and lack of proper sleep on a regular basis can worsen the symptoms of the disease. In such cases, sleep medications can assist however it also helps to adapt self-help methods. For example, going to bed at the same time of the day and not watching television. Instead, read while in bed before sleep. Mental activity can lead to not being able to sleep on time. Avoid consuming caffeine during the latter part of the day and also exercise.

Anti-inflammatory Diet –If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it is crucial to take a healthy and nutritious diet. The ideal diet comprises of the right number of calories, minerals, and vitamins to maintain a healthy weight of the body.

Research shows that cold-water fish, like salmon that is rich in omega-3 acids, is highly beneficial in easing the joint pain experienced with rheumatoid arthritis.

An anti-inflammatory diet is highly beneficial, this includes green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes. Other anti-oxidant foods like strawberries, cherries and blueberries can also help. To include more of omega-3 fats include walnuts, olive oil and flax seeds in your diet.

Managing Flares

During a flare, the inflammation of the joints and the associated pain can become extremely intense. A good step in preventing a possible flare is by adjusting your medications, coordinating with your doctor.

Make sure to have plenty of rest when adding new medications to your routine and ask for help from others with carrying out daily tasks. Take up stress relieving and muscle relaxation practices and exercises. Placing cold or hot packs on the joints suffering from inflammation may also help.

Protect the Joints

Protecting the joints is very important in managing rheumatoid arthritis. When moving and carrying objects use larger joints instead of putting the small joints under stress, like your wrists and hands. For example, when opening a door use your body to push it instead of putting stress on your hands.

Use Assistive Devices

Using assistive devices can help improve your psychological well-being. There are many devices designed to help patients cook, get dressed, write, drive, bathe and carry various other tasks with ease.

Seek Support

When dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, make sure you get plenty of support from others, this can help maintain a positive outlook on life. Sharing your struggle with others can make it easy. Friends and family may be able to assist you with carrying out the daily tasks if you are in need.

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