Mental Health Disorders And Ra
Depression negatively affects RA patients ability to function in the presence of their physical symptoms, such as pain and fatigue . Long-term exposure to raised cytokines such as IL-1, tumour necrosis factor â and IL-6 in RA can cause maladaptive responses to sickness behaviour, causing fatigue, pain, fever, anhedonia and depression . Depression presents with low mood, low self-esteem, fatigue, lethargy, insomnia, psycho-motor dysfunction and repetitive negative thoughts . MDD presents with more aggressive symptoms of depression together with feelings of low self-worth, difficulty concentrating, anhedonia and suicidal ideation, making it potentially fatal if left untreated .
Schedule Tasks Around Your Flares
Learning when her pain will be the worst and her functionality will be the best has allowed Elizabeth P., of Ridgecrest, California, to better manage her rheumatoid arthritis. I do a few easy things in the morning when my body is still warming up. Then early afternoon I do any large tasks because thats when I feel my best. Afternoon I do dinner prep and by evening its only things I can do from a seated position, she explains. Knowing what she can do and when helps her days feel less stressful.
Schedule A Girls Night In
Going out is a huge source of stress for Amanda S., of Denver, Colorado, who has inflammatory arthritis, chronic migraines, and type I diabetes. Not only does it take a lot of time and energy to plan and go out but once shes there, her restrictive-but-necessary diet means she has to worry about the food as well. Her stress-free solution? Plan a girls night in. She invites a few girlfriends over to play games or watch a movie and then she doesnt have to worry about getting dressed up or doing something physical when shes in pain. She can make the snacks so she doesnt have to stress over food restrictions. Bonus: Spending time with loved ones is a proven way to reduce stress.
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What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic, autoimmune, inflammatory disease. It chiefly affects the joints, often many joints throughout the body at the same time. But “systemic” means that many other parts of the body can also be affected.
In medical terms, rheumatoid arthritis is usually described as a systemic, inflammatory disease in which joint disease takes center-stage against a background of constitutional and internal manifestations.
The immune system is made up of body-protecting cells and antibodies. In normal people, these help to fight off invading infectious agents. In RA, however, something goes awry, and the immune system appears to be directed against the person’s tissues. This is why RA is called an autoimmune disorder. In people with RA, the immune system plays a major role in the development of joint inflammation and damage, fatigue, and the feeling that they have a chronic viral illness.
The major focus of treatment is modifying these immune responses inside joints so that damage can be halted, symptoms controlled or resolved, and function restored.
Medical textbooks about RA will talk about constitutional and internal manifestations of the disease. This means that the body’s immune and inflammatory systems of the body are activated and can affect various tissues throughout the body. Most people who develop RA will experience this as fatigue.
How To Know If Your Ra Is Progressing
You will know your joints will tell you, Dr. Bhatt says. The pain will get worse and you could have more swelling. Dr. Lally says that although periods of pain may resolve on their own in early RA, these episodes tend to become more frequent and longer in duration until the classic features of RA persist. In addition, Dr. Bhatt says to pay attention to non-joint symptoms like increased shortness of breath or red, painful eyes, which could be signs the RA is affecting other systems in the body. Let your doctor know if your RA symptoms are changing at all.
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Common Medications To Treat Arthritis Flares
OA patients might just need some OTC pain-relieving medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Dr. Bose also recommends topical gels and lotions like diclofenac gel or 2 Old Goats. If that doesnt work, Dr. Ashany says joint injections of steroids may be given. RA flares are more complicated. In inflammatory arthritis, steroids are often used to try to quickly bring a flare under control, Dr. Ashany says. If only one joint is involved a steroid can be given by injection, but otherwise it can be taken orally .
In inflammatory arthritis, if flares continue to occur, this indicates that the patients regimen of maintenance medication is not adequate, Dr. Ashany says. This may lead to addition of a medication, switching one drug for another or increasing the dose of medication that the patient is currently taking.
Focusing On Negativity And Pessimism
Simply put, it takes a positive attitude, rather than a negative or pessimistic one, to achieve positive results. It is logical that you need a positive approach to stay on track with your treatment regimen, exercise routine, diet, and more. You must believe in the goal. In a study published in December 2018 in The Clinical Journal of Pain, researchers found that optimism and mental resilience were associated with less pain severity in people with or at risk for knee osteoarthritis.
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Tackle Stress At Work
Stretch. Aim to take a break every half-hour to stretch, walk around, and clear your head. When you can’t, stretch at your desk. Try to move all your joints. Arch your back. Shrug your shoulders. Stretch your arms above your head. Make claws with your hands. Flex your ankles and toes.
Breathe deeply. Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed or open. Inhale through the nose, feeling your chest expand. Then exhale through your mouth. Repeat.
Relax your muscles. Slowly relax all the muscle groups in your body, starting with your feet and ending with your head. First, tense the muscles for about 8 seconds. Then relax them and feel the tension melt away.
Focus on a soothing image. Keep pictures on your desk or a slideshow of pictures on your computer that relax you. Try a favorite vacation spot, pictures of loved ones, or adorable kittens. Anything that makes you smile or feel calm helps.
Listen. Slip on a pair of headphones for a few minutes. Play a song that gives you happy, soothing thoughts. Or listen to relaxing natural sounds, like ocean waves or a waterfall.
Smell. Certain scents — like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood — can ease stress for some people. Keep a bottle of scented hand lotion on your desk and use it when you need a little “aromatherapy.” Get products with real essential oils instead of artificial scents.
Pace Yourself Prioritize And Give Yourself Credit
Living with RA can sometimes make it difficult to accomplish everything you want to, which can lead to additional stress, so its important to pace yourself and prioritize.
I keep a to-do list and am constantly ranking the items on my list to see what actually needs to be done, which items can be postponed or eliminated, and which items I can request help to complete. I also try to give myself credit for whatever I am able to accomplish. For example, I try to think of taking time to rest as an accomplishment, rather than a waste of time.
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When To Seek Help
If youre able to manage your RA with medications and lifestyle choices, you may only need to see your doctor for regular checkups. If your symptoms change or if flare-ups are becoming more frequent or more severe, see your doctor soon. Dont wait months for your next appointment.
Keep your doctor informed about your health. If youve started taking a new medication and suspect its interfering with your sleep, for example, tell your doctor. Your doctor may be able to recommend changes to your routine or healthcare plan that can have positive impacts on your health and the management of your RA.
How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect How People See Themselves
Rheumatoid arthritis is relatively common in young women. The limitations it can cause come right at a time when most of their peers are in good health, and that can be hard to deal with.
Some women worry that they can’t be a good mother or partner. Young women who have rheumatoid arthritis often wonder whether they should even have children. Having this disease doesn’t mean that getting pregnant isn’t an option. But it’s important to keep in mind that not all of the rheumatoid arthritis medication can be taken before and during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. You can talk to a rheumatologist or gynecologist about this early on. Men who are trying for a baby with their partner also need to stop taking certain rheumatoid arthritis medications for a while.
Some people are concerned about loss of status if they have to give up their job or take on a different position. The pain and loss of strength can also affect how you see yourself. It can be hard to show weakness or accept help, especially for men. Quite a few people even try ignoring the condition as much as possible because it doesn’t fit in with how they view themselves. They’d like to stay in control and continue living the life they’re used to as much as possible. This can be physically and emotionally draining, though. It can sometimes lead to depressive thoughts, frustration and aggression.
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Help Reduce Your Stress
- Exercise. Whether you enroll in a water aerobics class or make walking around the park part of your daily routine, promotes good mental health by curbing stress and anxiety. Gentle exerciseespecially aerobic exerciseis ideal for people with rheumatoid arthritis because it improves mobility and will even help shed a few pounds . Another big benefit: exercise may even have pain killing and mood lifting effect.
- Join a support group. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, or any painful condition, it’s easy to feel alone. Joining a support group will connect you with people who understand the pain and emotions you’re experiencing. The community aspect will also help diminish the sense of isolation that often accompanies pain.
- Relaxation therapy. This therapy aims to calm both the body and mind through making a conscious effort to relax. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, you might find this technique effective at controlling your response to stress.You might want to begin by focusing on one part of the bodyyour hands, for instance. Concentrate until your hands are entirely free of any stress or tension. Then imagine that weightless feeling flow throughout the rest of your body. You may want to close your eyes, lie down, shut the lights off, or think of a soothing memory. Relaxation doesn’t have strict guidelineswhatever best puts you in a relaxed frame of mind is what you should follow.
Mental Health And Rheumatoid Arthritis: Toward Understanding The Emotional Status Of People With Chronic Disease
1Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland
2Department and Clinic of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
3Department of Stomatological Surgery and Periodontology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
4Department of Clinical Psychology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
Chronic illness is indicated by the World Health Organization as the leading cause of premature death in the world. According to WHOs estimates, it is responsible for 63% of all fatalities . Chronic illness is defined by its slow progression and long duration, two traits which force patients to adapt to new, changed circumstances, and which affect most aspects of life, usually negatively, consequently significantly lowering health-related quality of life .
A basic problem that RA patients must cope with is pain. As the disorder advances, pain levels usually increase . The unpredictability of pain is one trait disrupting well-being patients cannot predict the end of an ongoing episode of pain nor the onset of another one. This negatively impacts the sufferers emotional state and greatly increases their negative affect.
2.1. Study Participants
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Articles On Living With Ra Flares
Stress can make rheumatoid arthritis symptoms worse. Take action to keep that from happening.
Researchers still don’t fully understand the link between stress and RA. It may involve things related to your bodyâs stress response and inflammation.
Use these proven methods to curb stress.
What Is Autoimmune Disease
These are fascinating and mysterious conditions in which the bodys immune system âmisfiresâ and attacks its own tissues. There are scores of autoimmune diseases out there. Some of the most well-known are , psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.
In some cases, a condition is labeled âautoimmuneâ based on conventional wisdom or expert consensus rather than hard science. And Ive seen the term âautoimmuneâ used loosely to apply to any condition of unknown cause in which inflammation is present or the immune system appears to be active. But an infection could do the same thing. So perhaps some of these conditions now considered to be autoimmune will turn out to be chronic infections by an organism weve not yet identified.
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Habits That Make Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms Worse
For the millions of people living with the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic pain and joint deterioration, effectively managing symptoms is an important part of maintaining a healthy quality of life. As with any medical condition, rheumatoid arthritis can affect everyone differently. Working with a Beverly Hills rheumatologist to find an individualized arthritis treatment plan that is most appropriate for each patients circumstances is the best method to find what is the most effective, be it medication, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, or a combination of treatments.
In addition to professional medical care, there are a number of practical steps that every rheumatoid arthritis sufferer can take to help keep pain at bay and to stay healthy and active even after a diagnosis.
Does Stress Affect My Arthritis
You will be better able to manage stress in your life if you:
- find ways to change negative thinking
- build a support system
- learn to relax
Did you know that stress can negatively impact your arthritis? Stress can increase muscle tension, which can be related to increased pain among people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to the everyday stress that everyone has, having arthritis may increase your stress at times. You may feel stress from not being able to do the activities at the same rate or in the same way you used to. You may find it hard to rely on others for help. You may feel stress about how your joints look. Learning to manage stress can help you feel better mentally and physically as well as reduce your pain.
Learning to change negative patterns of thinking is an action you can take that will also help you manage stress. For help with that skill, see Changing Your Point of View.
Building a support system will also enable you to better handle stress. With a support system, you are less likely to feel you are alone when things get rough. Also, your support system can help you put your feelings and circumstances in perspective. For help in knowing how to build a support system, see How can I get the support I need to manage depression?
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Guide To Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Part 2
If you missed Part 1 of Guide to living with rheumatoid arthritis please follow the link. In part 1 we covered the basics: what is rheumatoid arthritis, the cause, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. In part 2, Ill be covering how rheumatoid arthritis can affect your day-to-day living, habits that worsen RA, exercise, food, and stress reduction techniques. Without further adieu, here is Part 2 of the Guide to living with rheumatoid arthritis. I hope you enjoy!
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Stay In Your Pajamas All Day
Ever have those days where you just cant get out of bed? You have arthritis, so of course you do. And thats fine. Your pain and fatigue are real and legitimate and trying to push through your symptoms is incredibly stressful. Its important to give yourself permission to cancel your calendar as needed, Meghan says. Some days just need to be pajama days with a clear schedule and Ive learned that its not just okay, its necessary, she says.
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Will I Be Able To Work How Do I Tell My Boss
I wont lie. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to work disability, abseeteeism, and presenteeism at a high cost to you but also to your employer. Youve had the conversation with your family and friends but now its time to tell your boss.
First, youre not legally required to disclose your RA to your employer. However, as an employer myself, I would appreciate it if my employee would disclose this information. What if your job requires heavy lifting or standing around for a very long time? Maybe I can help you and re-arrange your work duties to better accommodate you? Maybe you need a better chair or a better mouse? Every situation is different. Not everyone with RA has horrible disease but on the flip side not everyones employer is accommodating.
Theres also the situation with doctors appointments. Most people with RA see their rheumatologist every 3 to 6 months for regular checkups. Some people may need medications that only come as infusions. These infusions are given in clinic and last between 1.5 hours to half a day. Thats more time off work.
Ultimately, the choice to tell your boss or not is yours. You are in control.