Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Overview

Feb 17, 2024

Rheumatoid arthritis has the potential to alter one's life drastically. You may require therapy on an ongoing basis to keep the symptoms and joint degeneration at bay. Simple activities of daily living may become difficult or time-consuming for you, depending on the level of pain and stiffness you experience and the degree of joint damage you have.

You may need to adjust your lifestyle or activities that are part of your normal routine to manage your illness better. The following is a list of things that you can do to assist.


Taking care of oneself is an essential component of day-to-day existence. It requires accepting responsibility for one's health and welfare while also accepting assistance from others engaged in one's care.

It encompasses everything you do regularly to keep yourself active, maintain excellent physical and mental health, avoid disease and accidents, and treat minor and chronic illnesses.

Individuals who have conditions that last for a long time, such as rheumatoid arthritis, might gain a significant amount by receiving assistance to take care of themselves. They have the potential to live for a longer period, have a higher quality of life, and become more independent and active.

Take Your Medicine

Even if you start to feel better, it is crucial to continue taking your medication as directed, even if it may seem unnecessary, since it may help avoid flare-ups and lower the chance of future complications, such as joint damage. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the drug or any adverse effects you may experience.

You should also take the time to read the information sheet packaged with the medication, as this will provide details on any potential drug interactions or supplement interactions. Before using any over-the-counter medications, such as painkillers or nutritional supplements, you should consult with your healthcare team members. These things could affect the medication you're taking.

Regular Reviews

Since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, you will have many interactions with the members of your healthcare team. This will allow them to determine whether or not your symptoms are being effectively managed and whether or not the medicine being administered is appropriate for you.

Your disease activity score, a DAS, may be assessed regularly. This may assist your healthcare team in determining the most appropriate course of therapy for you. On the website of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), you may find out more information about the DAS score. It is in everyone's best interest for your healthcare team to have as much information about you as possible; thus, you should share any concerns with them.

Reducing Your Medicine

Some individuals report that their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms go away entirely or significantly improve. Your therapy may be reconsidered when at least a year has passed, during which your symptoms have been controlled without requiring steroid medication.

It's possible that your doctor would propose gradually lowering the amount of medication you take before evaluating if you can stop taking it altogether. During this period, you will be subject to monitoring. Should you have a recurrence of your symptoms, you must immediately resume taking disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Keeping Well

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you should probably be vaccinated against the flu every year to prevent yourself from contracting the illness. You can also be recommended to be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, a one-time injection that guards against a severe chest illness known as pneumococcal pneumonia.

During a flare-up, when your joints may be very painful and inflamed, you should make every effort to obtain plenty of rest. Putting more pressure on joints that are already highly inflamed and painful may make the discomfort and inflammation worse.

Healthy Eating And Exercise

Exercise regularly and maintaining a good diet are also suggested for everyone, not just those with rheumatoid arthritis. They have been shown to lessen the likelihood of developing various diseases, including coronary artery disease and certain cancers. Regular exercise may be beneficial for relieving stress, helping to maintain joint mobility, and strengthening the muscles that support and stabilize your joints. If you're overweight, which may cause additional pressure on your joints, exercise can also help you lose weight and become in better shape.

Nonetheless, it is necessary to balance rest and physical activity. The discomfort caused by inflamed joints may be alleviated by resting those joints, but if you don't move about, your joints will harden, and your muscles will atrophy. Identify the things you like most and strike a healthy balance among them. It is generally recommended that you progressively increase the exercise you undertake. If you notice that a certain activity is causing your joints to get heated and swollen or causing extreme discomfort, you should stop doing that activity and rest instead.