RA can give you blinders. When you live with this disease, it can be difficult to look up and see more than the immediate issue of stiffness, pain, and treatment. This “diagnosis blindness” can also affect your medical team, leading to gaps in your care. This month on HealthCentral’s RA site, we’re focusing on issues related to RA, but which are not often part of regular discussions with your rheumatologist.
Imagine you and RA are surrounded by concentric circles. The immediate circle is the basics of RA. This month, we’ll look at a very important part of the basics: identifying what’s going on. Before you can get to a rheumatologist, you need to see your family doctor for initial tests that can lead to a referral. Many people don’t know what the early signs of RA are and many doctors don’t know, either. Lisa will write more in this issue to help you get a handle on your symptoms.
Once you’ve had a diagnosis, the next step is prescriptions for different types of medication for RA. What are they and what do they do? Next week, I’ll write the first of three post about RA meds, starting with NSAIDs.
There are aspects of RA not covered in your appointments unless there is a specific reason to discuss it. One such aspect is trigger finger. In her second post, Lisa will cover everything you need to know about this phenomenon.
Stepping out to the next circle, we’ll look at other aspects of your health that may be affected by RA. October is marked by two important health events. One is Breast Cancer Awareness. Later this month, I’ll continue my series on preventative healthcare, focusing on breast cancer screening. Look for my interview with PJ Hamel from our Breast Cancer site on how breast cancer screening may be complicated by RA and what you can do to make sure you get this important screening. The second health event in October is flu shots. Do you get it? Should you? Later this month, I’ll tell you more about flu shots and other types of vaccinations and how RA relates to them.
Another of the RA circles is family. In October, three of our writers are writing about family matters. Vanessa has a new baby (of the four-legged variety) and she’ll explore the benefits of pets when you have RA. Britt has decided not to have children and will tell us why. Lastly, as I told you in August, Leslie’s father passed away. She’s back writing for us again and will talk about adapting to loss.
Coping with the various aspects of RA can involve creating new habits. In an upcoming post, Marianna wall talk to us about shedding old habits that might not be working for you and how to make new ones to help you cope.
A habit that many people pick up after the initial adjustment is advocating for RA and other forms of arthritis. Later this month, Brad will tell us about his recent trip to DC to advocate with lawmakers. In her second post this month, Leslie will talk about how she’s making health advocacy her career.
Published On: October 01, 2014