Book Review: “Your Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Managing Treatment, Side Effects, and Pain”
Our fearless community leader here at HealthCentral, Lene Andersen, has written a book called, “Your Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools For Managing Treatment, Side Effects, and Pain.”
The book, while more how-to than memoir, is a culmination of over 40 years of experience living with RA. Lene began having symptoms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 4, and she speaks from first-hand experience when she talks about treatments, managing pain, and dealing with side effects.
In the treatment section of the book, Lene explains the treatments that are currently available for RA, and how treatment has evolved over the years since she was diagnosed. There are many more treatments available now than there were then.
In the side effects section of the book, Lene goes through the litany of side effects that can come from taking medication to treat RA. If you have experience taking these medications, you are probably well aware of many of these side effects. If you aren’t, it can seem daunting. But when the goal is remission, as Lene suggests, we sometimes have to move past the side effects in order to treat the illness.
In the pain management section of the book, Lene talks about just that – managing the pain caused by RA. And she also shares with readers a host of alternative medicine solutions to combat pain.
Despite the seriousness of the subject, the book is hopeful. Lene talks about a major shift in how RA is treated. The more traditional approach has been to “go low and go slow”. This means working up the ladder of medications, starting with the mildest and going to the strongest. As she explains, this approach can cause the disease to barrel on, rather uncontrolled. Instead, a “treat-to-target” approach is becoming more the norm. This means adjusting medications until remission or a low level of disease activity is achieved.
Lene calls this books a “portable go-to guide”. And I agree. It is a great resource for those new to RA, as it provides one-stop shopping for information on treatments and side effects. It is an equally good resource, however, for those who are RA veterans, as it can fill in the gaps in knowledge that we might have outside of what our personal experiences with the disease have taught us.
This book is the first in a three part series about life with RA. Book 2 will be about adapting and adjusting to life with RA, and book 3 will be about topics about the rest of life with RA.
The book is currently available for e-readers, and a paperback version is forthcoming.