The Month Ahead: Filling the Gaps in Your Knowledge of RA

  • Do you know the basics of dealing with your RA? Most of us are, by necessity, self-taught when it comes to managing our disease, learning what we need to learn when we need to learn it. The problem with this approach to self-management of RA is that there can be gaps in your knowledge which may mean that the quality of life isn’t as high as it could be. This month, the RA site writers will focus on bringing you information about some of the basics of managing the disease and chronic pain. Some of these basics may surprise you!


    The journey with RA starts with going to the doctor to talk about some strange symptoms. The next step is usually blood tests. But which blood tests and what do they mean? Later this month, I’ll give you a tour of the different blood tests used in the diagnosis and management of RA.

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    The symptoms that bring you to the doctor’s office usually involve pain. After the diagnosis, chronic pain remains a part of life for many people with RA. Managing that pain can involve medication, but there are many other ways to reduce your pain and enhance quality of life. Several of our writers are going to share tips and information on different ways to deal with pain. Vanessa is going to write about questions to consider about using steroids, a medication that is often used to help manage pain and inflammation. Marianna will extol the benefits of napping and Britt is going to explore non-medication techniques to relieve pain.


    Living well with RA requires rethinking how you approach almost every part of your life. One basic difference is how we view medication. For most people, medication as something to avoid, but when you have RA, it can be a positive. Vanessa is inspired by Easter’s theme of renewal and how it is echoed in her experience with a new medication. Changing the way you think can be a proces.


    In my second post this month, I’ll take a closer look at this process of reevaluating and give you some tips on how to incorporate it in your daily routine. But rethinking doesn’t just happen on an individual level — sometimes, society adapts to new realities, too. Medical marijuana has been much in the news lately, with a number of states making it available. Lisa will take a look at medical marijuana and RA.


    Reevaluating your life also includes a deeper awareness of the systemic aspects of RA. Complications and comorbidities are an unfortunate reality for some people with RA. Knowing more about these types of conditions can get you to a doctor faster, should it be necessary. One such condition is vasculitis, an inflammation of your blood vessels. In her second post, Lisa will tell us more about vasculitis, including symptoms and how to manage it.


    Living with RA is a challenge. Having complications from RA increases those challenges to the max. Brad has had a tough year, facing many complications related to his RA, many happening when he was traveling. This month, he’ll share tips on how to cope, especially when you’re far from home.


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    When we try to help you get a better quality of life with RA, it all comes back to taking care of yourself. This is something that most of us aren’t very good at, but it’s essential when you live with a chronic illness. In fact, it can be so much part of improving your life that it has become a bit of a concept in fields that deal with coping and chronic illness. It’s called self-care. Leslie will take a look at self-care, what it is and how to do it.


    Do you take better care of yourself now that you have RA? We look forward to hearing your stories in SharePosts, our Q&A area and on our Facebook page!

Published On: April 03, 2014