Health Center - Bone and Joint Health

If you think joint pain and brittle bones are an inevitable result of aging, think again. It’s never too early to start thinking about your bone and joint health. Get tips for building strength and coping with aches and pains in our Bone and Joint Health Center.
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Tips for Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

managing rheumatoid arthritis - woman looking out windowJuggling a busy schedule of family, career, household, friends and other commitments can be challenging, especially when living with a chronic, sometimes debilitating disease like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The symptoms of RA can be uncomfortable, often painful and can interfere with everyday activities. If it's not treated appropriately, it can cause permanent joint damage which can lead to disabilities. RA affects everyone differently, so it is important to make your routine work best for you. There are many ways you can take an active role to help ease symptoms. Below are some tips to help you get started.

1. Find a health care professional with whom you feel comfortable
You'll need to schedule regular appointments and work closely with your rheumatologists to create an overall treatment plan that is right for you, including appropriate medications and lifestyle changes. Bring a list of questions to your visits to make sure you get all the information you need. Remember, there is no "one size fits all" approach and it's important to feel understood and supported.

2. Be your own advocate
Speak up! Advocate for yourself to find the best ways to manage RA. Part of this is staying educated with resources like HealthyWomen's program, Managing RA: The Strong Woman's Approach.

3. It's all about YOU
Even with more than 1.5 million Americans living with RA, the disease affects everyone differently. Customize how you manage the disease to your individual needs and symptoms, and tune in to your body.

4. Set goals
Think about what you want to accomplish for the day, week or month, and talk to your provider about the steps you can take to get there, despite living with RA. Creating goals for managing life with RA can help you find new solutions to everyday challenges and keep you motivated.

5. Stay active
It may seem counterintuitive, but regular exercise can help control and reduce the painful symptoms of RA. It is important to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. Staying active helps keep bones, cartilage tissue and muscles around joints healthy and loose. Exercise programs should be personalized to your physical needs and what you enjoy. Finding this balance will help you ease symptoms and stay positive. Customized tips for exercising with RA can be found at www.ReachBeyondRA.com.