LIFE HACKS for RA Fighters/FindMeCure

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be a scary diagnosis even with all the treatments currently available and all the potential cures being developed in clinical trials. Living with RA can prove to be a huge challenge as it requires certain lifestyle changes, especially if your symptoms are moderate to severe – but you already know that.

Here, at FindMeCure we read a lot of stories of patients who learn to manage the symptoms as they go along with their treatment and try to live their lives to the fullest extent possible, so we wanted to give you some useful tips on how to do your day-to-day tasks and enjoy your time with friends and loved ones, so you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Your primary medical provider can also be a reliable source of information on dealing with everyday life while undergoing treatment, so turn to them with any questions you might have and take everything you read on the net with a grain of salt.

In case you have your own tips and tricks to add, please do so in the comments. Let’s create something useful for RA sufferers together. 

Explore your new source of RA support

We have already established the negative effect of smoking on the development of RA, but did you know that it can actually mess up with your treatment and make it less effective? On top of that, people who have RA are more likely to develop atherosclerosis and smoking can add up to that. If you are a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your RA treatment prognosis is to quit. And, if the stress of living with RA is taking its toll and you are prone to developing bad habits – stay away from cigarettes, you can relieve stress in a healthy way or at least, a much less harmful way. Which brings us to our next point.

Read “The Why and The How of Quitting Smoking”

Physical activity, apart from being a great stress-reliever, is also highly recommended for people with RA. You may be going to physical therapy, but it’s important to know that other activities can also benefit your condition. How so? Well, for starters, losing a bit weight if you’re overweight can relieve the stress on your already swollen painful joints, and even if your weight is in the norm, staying physically active keeps your muscles in shape and you need your muscles strong and flexible to help with movements you would typically rely more on your joints for.

That being said, you also need to rest. You might want to take 10-15 minutes every now and then throughout your day to give your joints a rest. The best you can do is plan your day in such a way that there is an appropriate amount of time spaced between your tasks so you don’t get overwhelmed. One of the most prominent symptoms of RA is fatigue and this alone already makes it difficult for you to go through a whole day of work, whether it be on your job or around the home.

Don’t beat yourself up over it – your wellbeing should be your first priority right now and as much as we all want to be productive (I’m looking right at you, overachievers and perfectionists out there), the reality is that you can’t keep up with your high-paced life and also manage RA symptoms. You will need to rest frequently and that’s okay.

A healthy diet is another cliché but an important thing to keep in mind when dealing with RA. You probably know by now that people with RA have an increased risk of heart problems and you just as well know what the recommended diet to keep your heart healthy is. To go a step further, be sure to get your Vitamin D either by sunbathing or supplements (consult your physician first if you chose the latter) and don’t forget the calcium too – the prevention of Osteoporosis is never guaranteed but you can at least do everything that’s in your power. There is little proven for sure about dietary habits that can supplement RA treatment but there are some suggestions that fish oil can relieve to a certain extent the inflammation in your body… and honestly, fish is good for so many things that it won’t hurt to try.

Furthermore, you can choose to use some assistive devices, such as various kitchen appliances made for people with RA, doorknobs and so on. Switch your manually operated toothbrush for an electric one. At some point it might get hard for you to unbutton your shirts – there’s no shame in choosing buttonless ones or switching to Velcro. You might also want to reconsider high heels or other fancy shoe options and go for the more comfortable ones. As for other mundane tasks – don’t hesitate to ask for help. Your spouse can do the dishes or vacuum around the house. If you live alone and you can afford it, consider hiring a helper as it can immensely improve the condition of your joints if you don’t have that additional work to do every day.

Explore your new source of RA support

If you’re interested in how other people with RA handle their condition, I recommend this read by Mrs. K.D. as she signed herself as it’s not only informative but relatable and hopeful.

More articles on RA:

Why Rheumatoid Arthritis is Vastly Different Than Arthritis
JAK Inhibitors Might be The Future of Autoimmune Disease Treatment, Including RA

RA Patients: Have Faith, Stay Positive, Rely on Family and More…

Over 550 Clinical Trials Are Working on New Arthritis Therapies. Will Any of Them Find a Cure?

– article by Nelly Katsarova

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