The 10 Keys to Living a Happy Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis
When most people think of rheumatoid arthritis they think of the pain, lost function, deformity and financial burden that can come with it. And while it is true that RA can be a disfiguring, debilitating monster in many respects, the reality is that if you have RA you still need to try and have a life as well. While that is not always easy – particularly in the later stages of the disease – it is possible. What it takes is implementation of a strategy to manage your symptoms, like walking disabilities, in the most effective way possible, so that you can continue to be an active player in your life and the lives of your family and friends.
“Living With” Not “Dying From” Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. Get to Know Your Team – Right from the get-go you will want to acquaint yourself with the team of health professionals who will make up the front line of your support. These are the people who will guide you, treat you, listen to your complaints, suggest ways to cope, supply you with solutions and keep their eyes and ears open to the latest breakthroughs that could improve your daily experience. They’re worth knowing well.
2. Keep a Positive Attitude – Not much good will come from sitting around bemoaning the fate the universe has dumped on you. The success of any endeavour depends in large part on believing you can do it and deciding to live with rheumatoid arthritis, instead of being ruled by it, is no different. If you start out on this road convinced you will fail, then you will. But you are not going to do that. You are going to keep your head up.
3. Quit Smoking – I’m sure you have heard it before but if you haven’t quit yet it needs to be said again: quit smoking cigarettes. There is no health problem you can have that smoking won’t make worse. Quitting is one of the best decisions you will ever make and will not only help you manage your rheumatoid arthritis more effectively but also help you avoid a variety of other smoking-related ailments that descend on smokers as they age.
4. Eat a More Balanced Diet – Contrary to some claims you may read on the internet whole grains are not the answer to all of life’s problems. But a more balanced diet that ditches the daily fast food and ice cream and focuses more on fruits and vegetables will help provide your body with the high quality energy it will need to keep you in the game. You also should consider replacing that steak with a nice piece of salmon and talk to your doctor about what dietary supplements might be right for you.
5. Exercise – If you have never exercised before, now is the time to start. If you already engage in regular exercise, don’t stop. Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining strength and flexibility. The oxygen it supplies to the brain also helps keep you more alert and upbeat. If you are suffering from limited motion and regular pain due to your rheumatoid arthritis you may want to consider swimming, which is excellent for overall health and has the added benefit of being easy on the joints.
6. Get Regular Sleep – Sleep deprivation can cause significant problems for even the healthiest person. For someone with rheumatoid arthritis it can be ruinous. Feelings of pain and fatigue become amplified and it becomes much more difficult to maintain emotional equilibrium as well. So it is important to develop consistent sleep patterns and to sleep for 8 hours a night. If RA pain is making sleep difficult, talk to your healthcare team.
7. Engage in Life – Find time every day to do something that interests you. Whether it’s bird-watching, antiquing or volunteering at the local shelter, get out of the house and engage the world. Meet new people, go to new places and do new things. All you have to lose is your sense of boredom.
8. Keep Your Appointments – Regular check-ins with your medical team are a vital part of staying on top of your RA. They need to know how you are and you need to keep going for your own sake. It may be difficult sometimes but avoid the temptation to cancel even if you feel fine. Skipped appointments become like rust and will eat away at the integrity of your treatment program.
9. Make those Appointments Count – Make sure you have any questions written down before you get to the doctor or therapist and then make sure you ask them. At the same time, answer all their questions honestly and thoroughly. Let them know how you’re feeling and if you don’t understand something they said, ask them to repeat it. You might even want to bring a friend along to just sit and listen as they may pick up on something you missed.
10. Don’t Give Up – Things will get difficult. There will be good days and bad and there will be setbacks and unwelcome news from time to time. But the one essential in all this, the grease that makes the wheels turn, is your refusal to give in. By keeping a positive outlook, by maintaining your sense of humour and perspective, by sticking to your treatment plan and looking forward you will be able to handle whatever is thrown at you and continue living with RA instead of being ruled by it.
Rheumatoid arthritis afflicts as many as 1 million Canadians. If you have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis and would like to learn how you can claim a $40,000 tax credit from the government, call Disability Credit Canada today at 1-855-765-4458.
We will help you determine if you qualify for this important benefit and stand with you through the entire claims process to ensure you realize the maximum benefit you are entitled to by law. The call is free and there is no obligation so call today.