The Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis
No one ever plans for a chronic illness. We plan on going to college, being successful in our careers, finding love, having kids and raising them to be great and retiring comfortably.
But developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not our list of things to do with our lives. Unfortunately, for some of us, it happened, and RA hijacked our once normal lives.
It feels like as soon as RA takes it hold of you, it never lets you go. That is because RA affects every single part of your life down to the little details.
So, how do the complications of rheumatoid arthritis affect our lives?
Everyone is Different
The complications of rheumatoid arthritis affect people differently. Some people have a milder form of the disease with periods of flares, where symptoms worsen, and periods of remission, where symptoms are gone or minimal.
Some with RA have a more severe form of the disease where RA fatigue and pain are experienced on most days. For these people, persistent inflammation leads to joint damage, disease complications, and disability.
RA is primarily a joint disease, but its symptoms are not just physical. Many people with RA have problems with depression and anxiety.
Emotional problems arise because RA invades every part of your life from home life to work. RA gets in the way of family responsibilities and even in the decision to have children.
The good news is RA is a manageable disease, and most newer RA medications allow help people to continue to be productive and functioning. These medicines help with pain and slow down joint damage.
Other treatment strategies, including exercise, eating healthy, patient education and support also help you to manage RA. And new research on how RA works is helping researchers better understand how to treat the disease better, and this leaves more room to be hopeful.
The Physical Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is a systemic disease, which means it involves your entire body and can cause damage to joints and major organs. It can even shorten your life if not managed properly.
The earlier you begin treating for RA with medication, the better your chances are for stopping joint damage, protecting your organs and having a longer life without disability and physical pain.