Safety Issues with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Is rheumatoid arthritis dangerous?

Maybe this is a silly question.

Because it is clear that rheumatoid arthritis causes a myriad of effects on the body.

So how do your protect yourself from harm if you already have rheumatoid arthritis?

The very best advice I can offer is to take any medication you are on that are meant to mediate the damage caused by RA. The less actual damage, the better off you are.

My second best piece of advice is not to fall. Easier said than done, right? I know. Especially in the winter when it is icy, and if you're like me, have terrible balance, and will slip at any chance I get. I'm not too steady on my feet anymore.

The reality is, you don't want to damage any bones or joints that are already damaged by RA.

I have fallen several times on my right hip, which is hands down the part of my body that has been most affected by RA. I have been lucky and haven't been injured by any of these falls. But I cringe to think of the repercussions, of what could possibly happen if I managed to damage my hip in any way other than the arthritis itself. Or any other bones and joints, for that matter.

And my third piece of advice is to adapt whatever you can in your life to make things easier on your joints. For example, it is getting very hard for me to hold books, especially hard covers, because of how RA has affected my hands and wrists. My parents are buying me a Kindle (e-reader) for my birthday this summer, and I can't wait I know that this will make it much easier for me to read without the pain of holding an actual book.

When I needed a new laptop, I got a netbook that is 11 inches. It is small and I love it. It is extremely portable, without adding a ton of weight to whatever bag I am carrying. I also buy purses that have soft straps that don't hurt my shoulders, and bags that I can shoulder, rather than having to carry by hand.

In my last post for HealthCentral, I talked about how shoes can help or hurt RA.

I have had to stop blow drying my hair because it hurts my neck, and I can't hold my arm up long enough to do it.

I have also found that those rubber jar openers are instrumental in me being able to open jars, and I get my medication in non-child proof bottles, because they are impossible for me to open otherwise.

I'm sure that there are other modifications I make to my life because of RA that I am not even conscious of.

What modifications do you make to your life, if any, because of RA?

_Leslie Rott is the author of the blog and the organizer of the patient-centered blog carnival _