Countdown: Top 10 RA and Chronic Illness Articles of 2017

by Lene Andersen, MSW Patient Advocate

Becoming empowered with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other types of chronic illness — that was the RAHealthCentral theme this year. Throughout 2017, we brought you articles to help you live better with your condition and you responded in the thousands. You read the articles here on our main site and shared your own stories and passionate discussions on our Facebook page. To round out the year, we’d like to share our readers’ top 10 favorite articles from the past 12 months. Let the countdown begin!

Women having a spa day.

10: Self-care is Not Selfish

This was the year when the concept of self-care really came to the forefront. Many of us struggled with the perception that taking care of yourself is selfish. When you live with chronic illness, self-care is an essential part of your treatment regimen. As Marianna Paulson says in the article: “[S]elf-care can help propel you to better emotional, mental, and physical health.” Do you need a bit of help to embrace this? Read more about why self-care is not selfish.

Hair clump from a hair brush.

9: Hair Loss in RA: Causes and How to Cope

You have to adapt to a lot of changes when you get RA: How you feel, what you can do, taking medication regularly, dealing with pain, fatigue, and side effects. And mostly, we cope and move on with our lives. But hair loss? That’s where a lot of us balk and start looking for ways to opt out of having RA altogether. Hair loss can have a number of causes and contrary to your instincts, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Learn more about causes of hair loss with RA and how to cope.

Depressed woman thinking.

8: Newly Diagnosed with RA? Common Concerns and How They May Change

Right after you get a diagnosis of RA, the overwhelm sets in. A multitude of concerns rush in, making you worry about every small and big part of what will happen to your future. Cathy Kramer interviewed women of different ages and at different stages of living with RA. They shared stories about concerns they’d had when first diagnosed and how they feel now, years later when they have adapted to having a chronic illness. It’s an inspiring look into the healing power of time.

A puzzle missing pieces.

7: The Link Between Dental Health and RA

RA is a systemic illness. The inflammation of active disease affects your joints, your internal organs, and even your teeth. Recent research has found a link between RA and your teeth. This link is involved in the process that triggers RA, as well as your dental health after the condition is active. In this slideshow, I share information that can help you protect your dental health, as well as stories from people in the community about how their teeth have been affected.

Healthy foods.

6: Survey Shows Diet Works for Some People with RA

Can diet help you control RA? Over the past few years, more and more people are using food as a tool to manage RA symptoms. There also are many claims that different ways of eating can have a significant impact on the disease itself. But is it true? Researchers surveyed people living with RA to find out if diet affected their well-being. Discover how many people with RA respond to diet and how it affects them.

Mirah’s LBLN Journey
All Media Storytelling

5: Living With RA: Mirah’s LBLN Journey

When you have RA, an effective partnership with your doctor is crucial. We were so proud to present the story of a very special collaborative relationship between Mirah and her rheumatologist. They have been together for 30 years and have found a way to work together that is respectful of each other’s expertise. Watch their story, part of Live Bold Live Now, to learn how you can build a similar relationship with your doctor so you can live well with RA.

Man looking at a woman.

4: How RA Affects Men and Women Differently

Do men and women experience RA in the same way? Although most of us experience this condition in ways that are different from others, it is possible to generalize certain aspects of the condition, particularly when you look at gender differences. It turns out there are quite a few differences in how RA affects women and men. Learn more in our #4 article of the year.

Nauseous man next to the toilet.

3: Green Around the Gills: Dealing with Nausea in Chronic Illness

Each chronic illness has its own unique symptoms, but there are a few that overlap between conditions. One of these is nausea and it can seriously affect your quality of life. Symptoms range from feeling queasy to nausea so intense that you vomit. You can get used to a lot, but feeling nauseated is a real challenge. Learn more about the causes of nausea in chronic illness and how to cope.

Traci Martin
Remedy Health Media

2: Living With RA: Traci Martin’s LBLN Journey

Dreams are important. They give meaning to your life, inspire you, and give you something to work toward. RA doesn’t have to be the end of this. Traci Martin’s dream is to set a world record in kayaking, and this year she is doing it! It takes a lot of preparation, training, and support from family members and doctors. Watch Traci’s Live Bold Live Now story of living with RA and pursuing her dream of kayaking the Great Lakes and setting a Guinness World Record in the process.

Woman stretching at home.

1: Thrifty Home Fitness Tips for RA

Ta-dahh! We have reached our top article for 2017 and it reflects a wish we all have to be in better shape. When you have RA, you know that building strength and fitness can help support your joints, alleviate pain and fatigue, improve your sleep, and, in general, increase your quality of life. But it can be difficult to get motivated to go to the gym. In this excellent slideshow, Marianna shared inexpensive tips for getting fit without leaving your home.

Lene  Andersen, MSW
Meet Our Writer
Lene Andersen, MSW

Lene Andersen is an author, health and disability advocate, and photographer living in Toronto. Lene (pronounced Lena) has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since she was four years old and uses her experience to help others with chronic illness. She has written several books, including Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain, and 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain, as well as the award-winning blog, The Seated View. Lene serves on HealthCentral's Health Advocates Advisory Board, and is a Social Ambassador for the RAHealthCentral on Facebook page, She is also one of HealthCentral's Live Bold, Live Now heroes — watch her incredible journey of living with RA.