Living with Arthritis
Living with arthritis is no less challenging for diagnosed patients. Adherence to treatment is a great ally as you live with the disease.
In general, the youngest and most active patients cope the worst with this condition. Facing the management of arthritis through different aspects is key to living with it from every perspective. Researchers agree that the disease completely changes a person’s quality of life.
Physical care for arthritis management
The first thing you’ll think is that living with arthritis implies physical limitations in your lifestyle. Pain, swelling, and stiffness can prevent you from doing simple activities, like washing dishes, reaching for a water bottle, or bending down to pick up something off the floor.
In principle, the treatment indicated by the specialist is aimed at counteracting this. But there are still a couple of things you can do on your own.
There is strong evidence that an exercise program is helpful in managing the disease. Physical activity can help you in different ways, although we can highlight the following:
- Helps you lose or maintain your weight (which means less load on the joints)
- Improves mood
- Strengthens the muscles to better execute the movements
- Helps maintain joint function
- It helps regulate stress levels, which are related to the worsening of symptoms.
Studies and research in this regard confirm that the benefits can be seen in both young people and adults. You can choose any type of exercise, although we suggest low or medium-intensity ones. Walking, jogging, swimming, and biking are the best options.
A study published in the journal Nutrients in 2020 suggests that nutritional habits have a direct impact on the evolution of arthritis; specifically, in rheumatoid arthritis. For example, the consumption of red meat and salt is associated with an unfavorable prognosis and the intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids with a protective role.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should avoid eating some food groups altogether, but it does mean that you should reduce them in your diet. For best results, consult a nutritionist.
As a complement to these two aspects of physical care, try to respect your sleep routine and take breaks when symptoms appear. If you take all this into account, you’ll be able to live with arthritis in the best way.
The importance of psychosocial support for living with arthritis
It is accepted among experts that the diagnosis of the disease conditions the psychosocial well-being of patients. Depression, stress, anxiety and pessimism often develop in the future. Of course, this isn’t only emotionally corrupting, but it also has a direct impact on worsening symptoms.
Working on an emotional plane, therefore, is part of living with arthritis. You can face it from several perspectives: discussions with your family about the prognoses of the condition, sessions with a psychologist to consolidate the assimilation of the diagnosis, or seeking help in support groups.
Regardless of the method you choose, the most important thing is that you don’t abandon your emotional well-being. Patients who work on it have greater adherence to medication and more optimistic outlooks around their condition.
Tips for living with arthritis
The above guidelines apply to any type of manifestation of arthritis. In general, you can also consider a series of tips, according to the type of variant you have developed.
Harvard Health Publishing recommends the following for diagnosed patients:
- Make home modifications: Grab bars, removing extra rungs, and using rugs that favor friction are just a few to consider. Rearrange tables, chairs, and furniture for easy transit, store items in easy-to-reach places, and keep multiple everyday items in different places close at hand.
- Simplify daily activities: Avoid doing unnecessary things that require a lot of effort and speed up the cleaning process. If you can afford it, hire a third party to do the heavy lifting.
- Consider using extra support: A cane is a good option here, and this can give you more balance when walking inside or outside the home. If it’s functional for you, don’t be afraid to have one available to improve your mobility.
- Avoid stressful situations: Opening a jar can become a torment that will increase your stress levels unnecessarily. Buy items that you can easily deal with.
Come to terms with your arthritis to help you live with it
The most important step of all in living with arthritis is coming to terms with the condition. Talk to your specialist about the real prognosis of the disease, do more research into it, pay attention to the progression of symptoms and discover specific palliative methods for that variant.
The more you’re interested in finding out more about all of this, the easier it will be for you to anticipate the facts and learn to live with the condition. In the process, you should include family and also friends from your close circle, who can help you overcome the initial fear and anguish. And remember, of course, to adhere to the treatment as indicated by your trusted doctor.It might interest you...
- Gioia C, Lucchino B, Tarsitano MG, Iannuccelli C, Di Franco M. Dietary Habits and Nutrition in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Can Diet Influence Disease Development and Clinical Manifestations? 2020 May 18;12(5):1456.
- Long AR, Rouster-Stevens KA. The role of exercise therapy in the management of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2010 Mar;22(2):213-7.
- McPherson KM, Brander P, Taylor WJ, McNaughton HK. Living with arthritis–what is important? Disabil Rehabil. 2001 Nov 10;23(16):706-21.
- Suomi R, Collier D. Effects of arthritis exercise programs on functional fitness and perceived activities of daily living measures in older adults with arthritis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Nov;84(11):1589-94.
- Treharne GJ, Kitas GD, Lyons AC, Booth DA. Well-being in rheumatoid arthritis: the effects of disease duration and psychosocial factors. J Health Psychol. 2005 May;10(3):457-74.
- van den Ende CH, Breedveld FC, le Cessie S, Dijkmans BA, de Mug AW, Hazes JM. Effect of intensive exercise on patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised clinical trial. Ann Rheum Dis. 2000 Aug;59(8):615-21.