What is rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that results in joint pain as well as damage throughout the body. The joint damage caused by RA usually affects both sides of the body. As a result, if a joint in one of your arms or legs are affected, the exact same joint in the other arm or leg is likely to be affected as well. This is one-way doctors differentiate RA from other types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis (OA).
How is Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?
Diagnosis of RA can be time-consuming and may necessitate multiple lab tests to confirm clinical examination findings. Your doctor will use various tools to diagnose RA. They will first inquire about your symptoms and medical history. They will also examine your joints physically. This will include the following:
- Search for swelling and redness
- Examining joint function and range of motion, as well as touching the affected joints to feel for warmth and tenderness
- Putting your reflexes and muscle strength to the test.
If they suspect you have RA, they will most likely refer you to a rheumatologist.
Common mistakes you should avoid if you got diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis:
With rheumatoid arthritis, you try your hardest to live a whole and active life (RA). Do you, however, recognize any of these common mistakes? If you recognize them, it is not too late to get back on track. Down here are 6 of the most common mistakes you should avoid making if you want to stay healthy.
6. Not consulting a Rheumatologist.
Your regular doctor could have diagnosed your RA. It’s better to consult a specialist. A rheumatologist will be the most specialized in the medications used to treat RA and will be able to recommend the best ones for you. If you don’t have one, request one from your primary care physician.
5. Having Too Much Rest Time
It’s challenging to get up and move when you have joint pain and fatigue. However, regular exercise is essential for your health. Idle time exacerbates pain, fatigue, and stiffness. Take it easy but do not stop if your RA flares up. Gentle flexibility exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, are recommended. You might also be able to do some exercises in a warm pool, but proceed with caution.
Increase your activity when you feel better. Strengthen the muscles around your joints by adding strength training (you can use weight machines at the gym, handheld weights, resistance bands, or your body weight). Cardio is also beneficial to your heart, bones, and mood.
Consult your rheumatologist, as well as a physical or occupational therapist, to determine the best exercises for you. Walking can be a really good exercise for people with RA. It’s low-impact and can be done anywhere for free. Swimming and water aerobics are also viable options.
4.Canceling Your Doctor Appointments
Do you stop seeing your doctor when you’re feeling well? You need those regular checkups to stay healthy and on track with your treatment. Your rheumatologist will check in on you regularly to see how you’re doing, how well your treatment is going, if you’re experiencing any side effects, and if necessary, adjust your treatment.
In addition to seeing your doctor, you may require lab tests or X-rays from time to time. Make sure you keep your appointments as well.
3.Not Taking All Of Your Medications
There’s a reason your doctor prescribed more than one RA medication. One of these medications may help relieve your pain, while the other may help prevent joint damage. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure what your medications do or why you need them. Inform them if any side effects or costs are a concern. They can assist you in looking for solutions, whether it’s another drug or financial assistance, so you can continue with your treatment.
2.Skipping Medication When You Feel well
On days when you feel better, you may be tempted to skip your medications. Please don’t do it. If you miss a dose of medication, the pain may return, and it may be more challenging to get relief later. Your rheumatoid arthritis may also worsen.
Some medications must remain in your bloodstream at specific levels to be effective. If you skip them too frequently, your blood levels of the medication will drop, and you may experience a RA flare-up. It’s normal to forget to take a dose now and then. Take it as soon as you remember (but don’t take it twice).
1.Ignoring Your Feelings
RA can be excruciatingly painful and difficult to manage. It’s natural to be sad about this at times. However, if you begin to feel depressed, for example, your blues do not lift, and you no longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy, tell your doctor so you can be treated and feel better. Your doctor can advise you with a counselor for “talk therapy” and, if necessary, prescribe antidepressants. You might also consider joining a RA support group, such as those offered by the Arthritis Foundation. More information can be obtained from your doctor.
How to treat rheumatoid arthritis?
There is no cure for RA, but treatments can help you manage it. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can keep patients and doctors on their toes as they try to figure out the best ways to minimize the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Recent advances in treatment strategies have resulted in ever-improving outcomes and quality of life for people who have rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatologists use the Treat to Target Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment philosophy to effectively manage this disease.
The treat-to-target strategy has resulted in fewer symptoms and higher remission rates in RA patients. The treatment plan consists following steps:
- Establishing a specific testing goal that indicates remission or a low disease state
- Testing acute phase reactants and performing monthly monitoring to assess treatment and management plan progress
- Switching medication regimens as soon as possible if progress is not made.
Treatments for RA help manage pain and control the inflammatory response, resulting in remission in many cases. Reducing inflammation can also aid in the prevention of further joint and organ damage.
Treatment options may include:
- Alternatives or home remedies
- Dietary changes
- Certain types of exercise
Your healthcare provider will collaborate with you to develop the best treatment plan for your specific medical needs. Many people benefit from these treatments because they allow them to live an active life while lowering the risk of long-term complications.
You can find more info about Rheumatoid Arthritis on this page: 23 Early Symptoms for Rheumatoid Arthritis