Living With Rheumatic Disorders
It is estimated that world over, millions of people, both men and women, suffer from arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Most rheumatic diseases are chronic, lifelong conditions that have no cure but can be managed effectively.
If you have been diagnosed with a rheumatic disease, it is natural that you feel anxious and disappointed; but remember, thousands of people with such conditions are leading a good life and you too can, if you manage the disorder efficiently.
So how do you handle your problems and concerns? To begin with, you need to understand the facts and reality. You should be aware that your condition can be managed with expert treatment and you too can live a good and productive life. Your Rheumatologist can help you with medications and therapies that have been proven effective in managing chronic rheumatologic diseases.
The most important thing you need to do is take control of the situation – which simply means that you need to understand your problem and address it right. You need to start living a healthy life and make sure that you eat healthy, get adequate exercise and also enough rest. The knowledge you acquire about the disease and positive approach to life and lifestyle will make a huge difference. You can live well, instead of just cope up with the disease.
Understanding Rheumatic Diseases
Rheumatic diseases are a family of illnesses that cause pain, inflammation (redness, swelling and pain) and changes to the joints and surrounding structures. There are more than 100 different rheumatic conditions including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, fibromyalgia, and scleroderma.
These disorders can make life so difficult that one may not be able to do their daily activities normally.
The symptoms for each disorder may vary; but all these conditions affect the musculoskeletal system including the bones, joints, muscles, and tendons. In some cases, certain internal organs may also get affected.
A Rheumatologist can help by diagnosing your particular problem and recommended the best treatment approach for you, taking into consideration your overall health, age and condition. It is extremely that for you to actively participate in your treatment, which will ensure that you understand your problem in detail and help yourself manage it in the most comfortable way you can.
What You Should Do
- Plan your visits with the Rheumatologist
- List out all the problems/ concerns
- If have several concerns, make sure you have enough time to inform/ speak about it to your doctor
- Bring a bystander (friend/ family member/ help) so that they too get to know of your problems
- Make sure you answer all the questions asked by your doctor in detail
- Speak about the stress factors if they are interfering with your life or lifestyle
- Seek a detailed/ clearer explanation if you don’t understand any recommended treatment including the duration
- Make an effort to understand about your condition so that it empowers you to manage it better
- Feel free to ask questions about your condition, treatment, duration or cost
You Are Your Support System
Never let your condition take over your life. You should manage the condition and live your life to the fullest. Your Rheumatologist can help you do this, provided you take charge and play an active role in your treatment.
You should always be aware of the following:
- The medications you require
- Recommended exercise programmes
- Ways To protect your joints
- Relaxation and pain management techniques
- Striking a balance between activity and rest
- Making sure that your body is well nourished
- Controlling your body weight
- Managing stress and emotions
Remember, your positive attitude towards life will make a huge difference. The first step to a successful management of the problem is approaching the treatment with a positive, “I will live a good life” approach.
A Healthy Lifestyle
Did you know that regular exercise helps decrease the pain, reduce the symptoms and improve your flexibility? Yes, exercise is undoubtedly one of the most important steps in efficient management of rheumatic diseases. Besides, physical activity releases “feel-good” hormones that will improve your over all mental wellbeing.
You can even make your exercise regime more interesting by joining an exercise/ walking/ cycling/ dancing/ aerobics group.
Please make sure that you seek the advice of your Rheumatologist before you embark on your new exercise regime.
Excess body weight is the worst enemy of rheumatic diseases as it exerts more force/ pressure on the joints. Always keep a check on your weight; regular exercise and a healthy diet will help you maintain an optimum BMI (Body Mass Index).
A Healthy, Nutritious Diet
It’s important to eat well-balanced meals, on time to ensure that your body and bones get the nutrition they need. You should eat foods that give more strength to your bones, including green, leafy vegetables, milk and milk products, Vitamin D rich products like oily fish and eggs and also drink plenty of water. You can seek your doctor’s help to plan a healthy diet.
Approach your problem with positivity and determination. Do not retract into a shell or feel depressed; rheumatic diseases can be managed efficiently. If you have the will power in you to live a good and productive life, you can, with the help of your Rheumatologist and other healthcare providers, take control of your problem and manage it efficiently.