Rheumatoid arthritis is not only immediately painful it also puts you at risk for long-term joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that usually requires long-term therapy however, there are things to do to help slow the progression of the condition. It is very important to watch out for signs of trouble to prevent damage to your joints when your arthritis flares up.
Some things to keep a look-out for are things such as stiffness or swelling. If you wake up with stiffness or swelling every day, your chances of having joint damage are higher than someone who experiences these symptoms less often. Joint damage can also happen even if you are only experiencing swelling and no pain. Swelling on or near the joint is a very reliable sign. Another reliable sign is tenderness when you press on or around the joint. You should also pay attention to the amount of time your joints feel stiff in the morning. It is important to ask yourself “How long does it take me to loosen up in the morning while getting ready for my day?” The longer it takes you, the higher the chance that you are being affected by rheumatoid arthritis. If your joint lining begins to have problems, that is also a problem you should keep an eye out for. It could possibly give your joint a mushy texture. All of the signs talked about are very important to look-out for.
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis early can make a major difference in preventing joint damage. Joint damage typically happens the most rapidly within the first two years of the condition and once it occurs it cannot be undone. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to several different things that can inevitably affect your quality of life such as, inflammation of other organs like your eyes, lungs, heart, blood vessels, liver, skin, and kidneys. It is also critical for you to create a treatment plan. The goal behind a treatment plan should be to get the condition into remission or to manage symptoms and keep joint pain to a minimum. You should be in contact with your primary physician and set up visits in order to manage your symptoms. It is possible that your arthritis treatment team could include other specialists such as a physical therapist, nutritionist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, rheumatology specialist, or orthopedic surgeon.
Another thing that can be done to prevent joint damage is certain lifestyle habits that help protect your joints. Following an anti-inflammatory diet by avoiding highly processed food and foods that have a high sugar content such as sodas, pasta and candy and highly processed meats, like bacon can help protect your joints. Other things you should do is not smoke, maintain a good oral hygiene, manage stress, use a cane in the hand that is opposite to the painful hip or knee, exercise, rest when you need to and follow your prescribed treatment plan. You can take control of your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and overall health by following these habits.
Part of managing rheumatoid arthritis is protecting the joints as much as possible to prevent long-term damage. Arthritis treatment is not impossible but can be done by following these tips and habits.