Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term, or chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes your own immune system to attack your joints. Approximately 1.5 million Americans are living with rheumatoid arthritis.
How RA Affects Your Life
Living with rheumatoid arthritis involves living with symptoms that can negatively affect your life, such as joint pain, decreased joint mobility, and joint stiffness (particularly in the morning). Parts of the body typically impacted by RA are the small joints in the fingers, balls of the feet, and wrists.
Risk Factors and Diagnosis
While the direct cause of RA remains unknown, a number of factors that can increase the risk of developing RA have been identified. These risk factors include:
- Family History
Several different examinations are made in diagnosing RA, including a review of symptoms and a physical examination. X-rays and lab tests are also done to check for RA. You should trust a doctor who specializes in arthritis care, known as a rheumatologist, to diagnose your condition.
A rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to suffer; early detection and early treatment is key to preventing further joint damage so you can live a more comfortable life. Moreover, early enough treatment may lead to remission.
RA is best treated through a focused plan designed by a rheumatologist. A solid care plan combines medication and self-management strategies. Medications for treating RA are called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), along with secondary medications called biological response modifiers (biologicals).
Medical science has shown a promising evolution over the years. RA is far more manageable thanks to significant advancements in treatment that are leading to remarkably better outcomes for people with RA.
What Can Help Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Exercise is very helpful in mitigating pain and damage from RA. Activities such as stretching, walking, and even gardening are all great ways to keep pain from increasing over time, in addition to keeping your mobility up. You can find more ideas on how to stay active here.
Another important component of how to live with RA is rest. While exercise is helpful, too much of it can worsen the symptoms of RA including inflammation. Resting during an RA flare-up is a good idea to help with pain and inflammation management.
A balanced diet helps fight inflammation as well. Omega-3 fatty acids, found mainly in fish such as salmon or tuna, are backed by studies that suggest their effect in lessening joint pain and the duration of morning joint stiffness. Don’t forget to round out your diet with a healthy balance of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
How to Get Help
Look no further to get the care that you need: Advanced Rheumatology of Houston is among the premier practices in The Woodlands, TX that specializes in treating RA. Dr. Tamar Brionez’s expertise and dedication can help you take back your power over RA.
Being proactive is one of the best ways of how to live with RA. We encourage you to contact Advanced Rheumatology of Houston at (281) 766-7886 or request an appointment with us here. We’re happy to help you get on the path of exceptional care so that you can secure your quality of life!