You have joint stiffness, discomfort, or downright pain. You’ve suspected it all along, but now it’s official: you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Many people see joint stiffness and pain as a natural part of getting older. This is not true. If you are suffering from excessive joint pain or stiffness, there’s a good chance you may have rheumatoid arthritis. After a positive diagnosis, you will be faced with several medical treatment options. Your health care provider will discuss your options and recommend certain actions to diminish the effects associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It is absolutely paramount that you speak openly with your medical doctor to ensure you understand all of your treatment options and what they entail. You should have a full understanding of all your treatment options, and be able to discuss them with your doctor openly.
After your diagnosis, you and your doctor should start treatment as soon as possible. Many people put off treatment, and this is usually a mistake because rheumatoid arthritis is known as a progressive disease that tends to get worse with time. Early and aggressive treatment is important in order to prevent complications and permanent damage to the tissues. Read everything you can about your condition, including all the available treatment options. Understand that almost every treatment option will have its own particular set of pros and cons. Everybody’s circumstances are different, so make sure your treatment plan is tailored to your specific situation. Again, don’t be afraid to talk openly with your health care provider about your situation, and what you expect from a treatment. Once you have begun a treatment program, it’s important that you become an active participant in the treatment process.
One important aspect of living with rheumatoid arthritis is to understand your symptoms. Become aware of your body. Although most people living with rheumatoid arthritis will have aches, stiffness, pain, or some kind of general discomfort, you should learn to distinguish between your arthritis-related symptoms and other symptoms. Being attentive to your body will allow you to become familiar with how your arthritis affects certain joints in your body. By paying attention, you’ll learn how to tell if a flare up is on its way, or if you are overusing a particular muscle in your body. One general rule of thumb is that if pain persists in a particular joint for more than one hour after you completing some kind of activity, chances are you overexerted the joint. Learning to predict the difference between just enough activity and overexertion is a difficult but crucial part of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis.
Perhaps the most important thing to do after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis is to follow through with treatment, and to take good care of your body. Do some form of physical activity at least three or four times a week to keep your body strong and in shape, but take care not overexert your self. Eating a healthy diet is also important to reduce the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.