Dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Self-Care: Managing RA
The more you know about RA, the better equipped you'll be to manage your condition—whether it's dealing with doctors, nurses and health insurance reps or coping with the highs and lows of remissions and flare-ups.
Learning the language of rheumatoid arthritis, for example, can help you communicate with your doctors, understand test results, discuss treatment options, and be an active member of your healthcare team. So if you don't understand what your doctors or nurses are telling you, ask them to explain it in everyday language and to write down technical terms so that you can become more familiar with them. And keep in mind that amid all the white coats and specialists, you too are an expert—on you. You know better than anyone else how you feel and what feels normal or different, better or worse.
Taking care of yourself—physically and emotionally—is also a vital part of successfully managing RA, and there are many things you can do as part of self-care:
- Eat healthfully.
- Stay as physically active as possible.
- Get plenty of rest and relaxation.
- Be kind to yourself, and celebrate your triumphs, both big and small.
- Protect your joints.
- Try to quit, if you smoke.
- Maintain your social network of friends and family.
- Ask for support when you need it, and consider joining a support group of other people living with RA.
How can you protect your joints?