Living with Arthritis

Living with arthritis shouldn't give a negative outlook for the future. Let's see what you can do to live with the disease in a better way.
Living with Arthritis

Written by Josberth Johan Benitez Colmenares, 04 August, 2021

Last update: 04 August, 2021

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.

Exercise

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.

Exercise for living with arthritis.
Doing moderate-intensity physical activity can improve arthritis symptoms.

Feeding

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.
Woman with arthritis descends stairs.
The use of rails and canes for support is necessary in advanced arthritis cases.

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.

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