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Arthritis: Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis


Table of Contents


Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.   Arthritis: Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

Living with rheumatoid arthritis can mean living with chronic pain, fatigue, and joint stiffness. Thousands of people have benefited from developing and following plans to help them manage their symptoms. You and your doctor can create a medical treatment plan that may include medicine and other therapies. Early medical treatment can help you avoid disabling joint changes and chronic pain.

Besides following your medical treatment plan, there are several steps you can take to maintain your normal life and activities. This is often called self-management. The first steps include:

Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  What does it mean to take an active role in the management of rheumatoid arthritis?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Why is it important to take an active role in developing a management plan for rheumatoid arthritis?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  How do you manage your rheumatoid arthritis?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Where to go from here

What? - What is the medical information or key concepts related to the action?  What does it mean to take an active role in the management of rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is going to be big part of your life, perhaps for years—perhaps from now on. If you become involved in the day-to-day management of your health, you stand a better chance of maintaining the activities that fill your life. If you take on this job the same way you would take on a new career position, knowing it will require daily learning and practicing and that there will be setbacks as well as successes, you are on your way to managing your rheumatoid arthritis.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. An important step in my management plan for rheumatoid arthritis is learning as much as possible about the disease and what it does.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      Learning about rheumatoid arthritis is an important step in developing a management plan that can work for you.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      Learning about rheumatoid arthritis is an important step in developing a management plan that can work for you.


Why? - Why the action is important?  Why is it important to take an active role in developing a management plan for rheumatoid arthritis?

Early medicine-based treatment for rheumatoid arthritis may limit joint damage and help you to avoid permanent disability. But even with that successful outcome, the disease may be active for years. During that time, and in the periods of time when the disease is not active (in remission), you will want to continue with the activities that make life complete. An effective treatment plan includes both exercise and creative ways to get projects done as an important part of your daily routine.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Having rheumatoid arthritis means that I have to stop doing aerobics, cleaning house, or other active routines.

    1. True

      This answer is incorrect.

      Having rheumatoid arthritis does not have to mean that physical activities have to stop. Setting up and following a self-management plan that keeps you moving every day is the best way to stay in charge of your health and life.

    2. False

      This answer is correct.

      Having rheumatoid arthritis does not have to mean that physical activities have to stop. Setting up and following a self-management plan that keeps you moving every day is the best way to stay in charge of your health and life.


How? - Learn the steps involved in taking action.  How do you manage your rheumatoid arthritis?

Understand your arthritis

Learn how to cope with chronic pain, fatigue, and stiffness

Take an active role in managing your arthritis

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Various routines, assistive devices, and flexibility exercises have been developed to help people with rheumatoid arthritis cope with pain and stiffness.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      Learning basic skills—such as ways to use your body that protect stiff areas—will help you continue activities. And exploring the use of splints, canes, and other mechanical aids can help you avoid discomfort.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      Learning basic skills—such as ways to use your body that protect stiff areas—will help you continue activities. And exploring the use of splints, canes, and other mechanical aids can help you avoid discomfort.


Where? - Other resources and organizations that can help you take action.  Where to go from here

To learn more about how to set up a self-management plan for rheumatoid arthritis, contact your doctor.

If you want to learn more about arthritis self-management plans, the following resources are available:

Organizations

Arthritis Foundation
P.O. Box 7669
Atlanta, GA  30357
Phone: 1-800-283-7800
Web Address: www.arthritis.org
 

The Arthritis Foundation provides grants to help find a cure, prevention methods, and better treatment options for arthritis. It also provides a large number of community-based services nationwide to make living with arthritis easier, including self-help courses; water- and land-based exercise classes; support groups; home study groups; instructional videotapes; public forums; free educational brochures and booklets; the national, bimonthly consumer magazine Arthritis Today; and continuing education courses and publications for health professionals.


National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institutes of Health
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD  20892-3675
Phone: 1-877-22-NIAMS (1-877-226-4267) toll-free
Phone: (301) 495-4484
Fax: (301) 718-6366
TDD: (301) 565-2966
Email: niamsinfo@mail.nih.gov
Web Address: www.niams.nih.gov
 

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is a governmental institute that serves the public and health professionals by providing information, locating other information sources, and participating in a national federal database of health information. NIAMS supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases and supports the training of scientists to carry out this research.

The NIAMS website provides health information referrals to the NIAMS Clearinghouse, which has information packages about diseases.


Credits for Arthritis: Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Last Revised June 4, 2012

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