If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. In the United States, 41 out of 100,000 people — or an estimated 1.3 million Americans — suffer from this unpredictable and sometimes debilitating condition.
Any RA experience is never pleasant and easy to talk about, especially for those who are young and not expected to be going through it. How painful RA can be can be difficult for other people to comprehend and can also be hard to explain.
Most people don’t know the complicated means many RA sufferers go through to ease their pain, from mixing medications to doing exhaustive searches for possible effective alternative medicine. If anything, some RA sufferers even face doubt about their pain from family and friends.
It is important to know how to explain RA effectively to those who don’t suffer through it. Through other people’s understanding, you can build a support system RA sufferers need to cope with the disease.
Read on for more information you can share with your loved ones — facts, uncommon symptoms, complicated treatments, risks, and a revolutionary testing system that can drastically improve your quality of life.
RA is an autoimmune disease that attacks the healthy cells surrounding your joints, causing painful swelling in affected parts of your body. RA usually attacks several joints at once.
Early diagnosis is crucial for effective RA treatment, but some people don’t consult health professionals right away because of common misconceptions. Here are some of the false myths about this autoimmune disease.
- RA is part of aging: No, the disease may affect young adults, teens, and even children.
- It only affects the joints: If left untreated, this disease may affect your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and other body parts.
- Exercise is not ideal for RA: Research shows that aerobic and aquatic exercises reduce physical pain and improve bodily functions.
- The medication stops when the pain does: Pausing your medication may lead to a resurgence of pain and more damage.
- There is nothing you can do about RA: While there’s no cure for it yet, you can slow its progression, reduce pain, and improve your quality of life.
The most common RA symptoms include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness that occur in flares. In severe cases, you might also experience deformities or loss of joint functions. However, the symptoms are not always joint-related.
One of the reasons why talking about RA with loved ones may be a difficult feat is that many pressing symptoms can be non-joint-related. On some days, mental and physical fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, depression, and memory problems occur more often than joint pains. These indications may make explaining RA to family and friends more challenging than you’d expect.
Treatments for this disease will attempt to address symptoms and slow the condition’s progression, but not cure it. Whatever your symptoms are, this is an example of a plan you should expect from your physician.
- Set fixed treatment goals.
- Monitor your treatment and pain levels.
- Switch your regimen if you don’t feel any progress.
RA treatments may include:
- Home remedies
- Dietary changes
- Specific exercises
In the past, finding the right combination of treatments took months or even years. Your physician might prescribe disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate. You might also find yourself trying different medicine mixes such as hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, minocycline, and more.
It was common for RA patients to endure several trial-and-error treatment plans in the past because of the lack of information.
RA has many potential health risks that can lower your quality of life, such as premature death, disability, and debilitating pain. Here are some common diseases associated with this autoimmune disease.
- Premature heart disease
- Weakened immune system
- Lung disease
There are many other comorbidities associated with RA. The best way to minimize its risks is to detect the disease early on and to get proper medical care as soon as possible. RA has varying levels that need personalized treatment plans. Luckily, Vectra can help.
The Vectra Test
Vectra can help show that the pain you feel is real. Vectra is a superior blood test system that measures the inflammation caused by RA, the effectiveness of the current treatment, and the probability of future joint damage. The company’s revolutionary methods can help you and your family understand how real your joint pain is.
The Vectra score reveals the severity of the disease from a range of 1 to 100, with lower scores indicating less inflammation. Patients with low Vectra scores have decreased chances of future joint damage. On the other hand, patients with high to moderate Vectra scores have uncontrolled inflammation and may require treatment modification.
With Vectra on your side, you can create a customized treatment plan with your physician to address your symptoms, prevent future damage, and enhance your quality of life.
Transform Your Life Now
RA can be a frightening endeavor if you tackle it on your own. With the help of your loved ones, physicians, and Vectra, you can transform your life with education, information, and a customized treatment plan.
If you or a loved one suffer from this rare autoimmune disease, please keep in mind that it’s possible to address symptoms even if it does not have a cure yet. Get tested now to transform your life.