How Does Having Ra Affect You When You Get Sick Another Way?

Question

Asked by Bobbi

How Does Having Ra Affect You When You Get Sick Another Way?

I am 34 years old, and was told at age 10 that I had JRA. I have never been on a regular treatment for the disease (dad was military, and we never lived in the same place for very long let alone see a regular doctor) My treatments have always been Motrin 800mg and exercise. When I was around 28 I started seeing Rheumatologist. I took Enbrel and Methotrexate plus other meds. Then I lost my insurance. I can not afford the meds, and now I just deal. I have 4 children and run a home-based business with my husband. Most days I can not just take it easy, and I am starting to feel myself drain away. We have had the flu in my house for 2 weeks now, and I have been sick the ENTIRE TIME! Not just the flu, but now I think I have a sinus infection! I have always though I stayed sick longer than the rest of my family, but this is crazy. I've had my fill with doctors (the last one treated me for Fibromyalgia for several months and charged me a fortune), and I am ready to try some diet changes and other suggestions. Please help!

Answer

RA symptoms usually get worse when you're sick with the flu or cold - if your immune system is working harder to fight an illness, it's likely that you'll experience a flare of your RA symptoms, as well. It's important that you don't take immune system boosters light e.g., echinecea as it can cause flares of autoimmune illnesses like RA (if you strengthen your immune system, you will also "strengthen" the RA).

That said, it's very important to get treated for your RA to protect your joints from damage that can affect your future mobility. There are a number of programs that offer assistance with funding for medication, both programs offered by the drug makers, as well as other options. You may experience some relief from diet changes to e.g., the Mediterranean diet which has been shown to have some anti-inflammatory properties or supplements like fish oil, vitamin D and tart cherries, but you will get the most bang for your buck by finding a way to go back on the medication. Check out the post I linked to above that lists these programs and ask your rheumatologist for help - they may know about clinical trials that you can participate in. If you cannot afford a rheumatologist, there may be other options in terms of getting medical care without insurance - contact your city government to see if they can recommend clinics in your area.You can also check out one of my recent posts about RA and alternative medicine.

And good luck. It can't be easy to run your own business and raise four kids with untreated RA!

Answered by Lene Andersen, MSW