I have only begun my journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis, having been newly diagnosed. I can honestly say that I would not wish it on my worst enemy. It is extremely painful and makes even the simplest of daily movements a struggle. I debated about writing my blog about this condition because I did not want to appear whiney and weak, but if people with firsthand experience do not explain, how will we learn to manage it and have it be understood? My condition has attacked my hands and wrists first which makes even typing this blog difficult.
It has also affected my knees, back and neck.
RA is an auto-immune disease which for reasons unknown, causes the body to attack healthy tissue causing inflammation, pain and deformity of the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis begins much like Osteo-Arthritis with pain and stiffness, especially in the mornings and after sitting for prolonged periods. If not controlled, deformity of the joints can occur and cause the affected body part to appear deformed and mis-shaped. It is suspected that RA is inherited in families prone to the disease.
I understand the way to manage RA ( there is no cure ) is to cause it to go into remission….by administering medications proven to reduce pain and inflammation. Among these are Methotrexate, Hydroxychloroquine, Imuran and the more recently introduced group of Biologics that we see advertised frequently. All of these meds are prescribed to help the disease go into remission and reduce flare-ups, therefore improving the patients quality of life.
Anti-inflamatory drugs such as NSAIDs can help with pain as well.
Regular exercise of course can help flexibility and ease of movement when it is possible to do so. Keeping moving as much as one can helps as well. I intend to fight this disease as hard as I can and maintain my job and family to the best of my abilities!