Keys to Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

A person with rheumatoid arthritis has to face many changes and challenges in their life.

After a diagnosis  of rheumatoid arthritis, unpleasant words such as disability, deformity, limitations… Words that, combined with reserved prognosis and insecurity, can make the patient feel with rheumatoid arthritis hopeless, disheartened, powerless, overrun with negative thoughts and afraid of the future.

Maintain a positive attitude! The only way is a positive approach to rheumatoid arthritis. Learn to accept your limitations and perform better, and readjust your life.

Here are some of the keys:

Knowledge is power

Learn. Find and read everything that falls into your hands and help you understand and know your illness. The Internet allows you to access more information than ever before, and there is much to learn: symptom recognition, treatment options, how to control pain, role of diet and exercise…

In addition, the Internet provides you with tools to communicate with other patients with the same disease, to share common experiences that will provide support and help you gain perspective and establish new relationships of companionship and friendship with other patients who understand you perfectly, because they share your  same problem.

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Stay motivated

When the pain is present, it’s hard not to fall apart. However, it is essential that you stay positive and motivated:

Always focus on what can be done, rather than what you can’t

Establish strategies and goals to be met to live your life to its full potential.

Force yourself to stay active and retain as much independence as you can.

Work on emotions to banish sadness and depression, end loneliness, and avoid feelings of helplessness.

In addition, remaining active physically strengthens the person with rheumatoid arthritis, maintains their functional joints and limits the progression of the disease.

Life is worth living

Even if chronic pain limits you, you still have a lot of skills left, and you need to focus your energy on them. Organize yourself to use your time and energy on the most important things, and enjoy them: pain will be present whether you do it or not. Participate in the daily activities (shopping, visits, work, travel, etc.) and enjoy the social activities you like: you will see that you still have a lot of life ahead of you.

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There are different treatments that can help you

Ask your doctor: There are many treatments on the market that can help you manage the pain and other symptoms of your condition. Ask your medical team to show you your options and to let you know about their pros and cons.

Explain your needs

Living with rheumatoid arthritis changes daily life. Activities and habits that were previously simple or obvious, now become difficult to overcome. Therefore, the disease affects not only the affected person, but their entire environment: family, friends, co-workers… They will also need to accept and adjust to changes.

Communicate your needs and feelings to them, and share your concerns about the disease with them. You didn’t ask to be here… But neither do they. And sometimes it will be difficult for them to put on your skin and understand how you feel if you don’t explain it to them.

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Use relaxation and stress management techniques

It’s easy to get depressed and crumble when faced with rheumatoid arthritis and its problems, as well as new difficulties, to the challenge of adjusting your life to a chronic disease. And the resulting stress negatively affects the evolution of the disease.

Meditation is useful for decreasing muscle tension and stress caused by fatigue and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis pays not only a physical toll, but also a mental toll. Sometimes, it is simply necessary to focus on other things, clarify the mind, and relaxation manages to soothe both the body and the mind.

Focus on your quality of life

It is imperative that you focus on how to maintain the highest possible quality of life. You should focus on positive thoughts, what you still have and that you can use, rather than what you’ve lost.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis becomes much lighter if you think positively, maintain an active lifestyle and set realistic goals.

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