Choose Wisely At Bedtime
Make sure the food youre eating isnt causing you to get less sleep. Spicy foods or high-fat foods, as well as orange juice and carbonated beverages can cause indigestion and heartburn. Avoid evening treats like chocolate that contain caffeine. And drinking alcohol may make you fall asleep faster, but alcohol can disrupt sleep, too.
Even perfect eating habits wont solve all your energy problems, Dr. Namey says. But adopting better practices may help you feel better and put some pep back in your step.
How Can We Accurately Measure Ra Fatigue
Anecdotal evidence and personal experience tells me that many rheumatologists fail to address fatigue directly. Instead, rheumatologists tend to focus on the more measurable aspects of the disease: number of swollen joints, lab results, joint deterioration, restricted movement, and similar metrics. I think part of this is because fatigue, like pain, cannot be objectively measured. Fatigue is subjective a personal opinion of the patient so there are no clear guidelines between patients or even with the same patient at different times.
Beating Chronic Fatigue By Improving Lifestyle
The effects of Chronic Fatigue cant be managed overnight. It requires small daily habit changes and lifestyle shifts to incorporate more activity, better rest, and improved dietary habit. By assessing and adjusting your daily activities, you can help determine what is contributing to your chronic fatigue, and make the appropriate lifestyle changes. Successfully managing these factors that contribute to Chronic Fatigue associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a patient can drastically improve energy levels and overall wellbeing.
If youre concerned about how chronic fatigue is affecting your life, talk to your rheumatologist about the options to beat fatigue and improve your wellbeing.
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Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Naturally With Food
Pain and aches associated with rheumatoid arthritis can often be cured naturally with food choices. This online Guide to Healing RA Naturally provides you with ample information on how food can help prevent and cure arthritis symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the body’s own joints. The disease causes chronic inflammation in the lining of joints, typically in the joints of the hands and feet. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis can cause painful inflammation in the tissues around the joints. While rheumatoid arthritis can last for years, even a lifetime, the symptoms typically come and go. When the symptoms are present, the disease is said to be active. During the active periods, patients may experience muscle and joint pain and aches, red and swollen joints, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Rheumatoid arthritis is typically a progressive disease which can cause deformed joints and disability at a later stage.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Is Not Just Being Tired
Some days are like this, and today that is where I am. Fatigue is a very real struggle for many of us battling rheumatoid arthritis. It is more than just missing a good nights sleep, more than just being tired or worn out, and more than just needing a nap. It is a weariness and exhaustion that few understand and that is sometimes hard to explain, and it is much more than simply needing a nap or a good nights sleep.
Oh, how many times I have heard, I totally get it, I did not sleep well last night, or I understand, Im really tired today too, as I have tried to share this struggle with others. I get that when these things are said, people are trying to identify with me, but rheumatoid arthritis fatigue is so much more than not sleeping well or just being tired.
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What Causes Chronic Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It can be one of the first warning signs of RA before the diagnosis is confirmed. For many patients, the onset of chronic fatigue symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis can be vague and difficult to categorize and may be attributed to other causes.
The cause of chronic fatigue can sometimes be difficult to identify because there are many factors to consider. Some of the different factors that cause chronic fatigue include:
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Poor diet and lack of physical activity
In addition to the regular rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, fatigue becomes even more chronic and debilitating when other medical complications are involved. Fibromyalgia, obesity, heart disease, respiratory disease such as COPD, and depression, are a few examples that can complicate and worsen the effects of fatigue.
New Drug Combination May Help Ease Fatigue Caused By Ra
A study presented at the 2020 conference of the European E-Congress of Rheumatology shows that methotrexate and prednisone, two prescription drugs commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, can help ease fatigue when started early in a patients treatment plan. Fatigue is a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis that keeps people from living productive, pain-free lives.
Texas Orthopedic board certified rheumatologist Dr. Joseph Martinez spoke to Healthline about what this study could mean for patients with RA.
This study provides further evidence that an early aggressive approach to rheumatoid arthritis treatment can improve outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis and its complications, Dr. Joseph R. Martinez told Healthline. Our patients with RA may be able to achieve a higher quality of life as suggested by this studys findings.
For more information on this study and how it could impact the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, read the entire article here.
To schedule an appointment with one of our rheumatologists, schedule online or call 439-1001.
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on and .
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Develop Good Sleep Habits
There are well-known sleep tips, and you should follow themgo to bed at the same time each night, get up at the same time each day, establish a ritual so that your body will recognize it’s time to sleep . If you still have trouble falling or staying asleep, you may wish to discuss sleep medications with your healthcare provider.
Get Help For Depression
Mood disorders like depression take a toll on energy levels, and they commonly occur in people with chronic pain conditions. In fact, research has shown that nearly three-quarters of those with RA were depressed.
Left untreated, depression may lead to more severe arthritis symptoms, including greater arthritis pain and fatigue. Other conditions, such as obesity, obstructive sleep apnea and anemia may also contribute to fatigue, adds Dr. Schiopu.
While depression, sleep disorders, and other factors could be linked to inflammatory arthritis, they may also be independent conditions that patients have, she says. Your doctor may screen for these and other conditions to find the root cause, and then determine the best treatment.
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How Does Fatigue Change Your Life
Fatigue is different than normal feelings of tiredness. People describe it as being overwhelming and uncontrollable. They feel worn out and drained of energy, and sometimes even lose all interest in anything.
It can increase the need for sleep and make it hard to concentrate or do anything. Constantly feeling exhausted and not being able to maintain an active lifestyle can affect your mood too: Many people who have rheumatoid arthritis also feel depressed, irritable or anxious. These feelings can be hard for others to fully understand.
The severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may vary a lot over time. This can make it difficult to plan ahead. You don’t know how you will feel the next day or whether the symptoms will get better or worse. This means that people with rheumatoid arthritis feel like they have lost control of their lives. If they are too exhausted, they may not have enough energy even for simple everyday activities or for playing with their children or grandchildren. Appointments may need to be rescheduled, and some people give up their favorite activities if they prove to be too demanding.
And at work it may be difficult to accept that you can’t do as much as you used to. You might need more breaks, or certain tasks might need to be reassigned.
Work On Your Sleep Hygiene
This is another strategy that can sometimes be easier said than done, but if youre struggling with fatigue, its worthwhile to evaluate your sleep hygiene and see if there is anything you can do to change or improve your habits.
A good place to start is by considering your sleep routine. It can be helpful to try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This may help your internal clock realize more naturally when its time to go to sleep.
A sleep routine can also include a warm bath or shower or other relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation. While a warm drink might also be part of a sleep routine, its a good idea to avoid caffeine close to bedtime.
Its also important to make sure your bedroom is as conducive to good sleep as possible. It may help to regulate the temperature, keep noise to a minimum, and make sure the room is suitably dark.
Most experts advise using your bed as a place only for sleep and intimate activities. Doing other things in bed, like watching TV, playing on your phone, or working on a computer, can teach your body not to be ready to go to sleep when you get into bed.
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Combat Medication Side Effects
Your RA medications may also contribute to sleeping problems. Patients may be awakened by heartburn if they are taking their anti-inflammatory on an empty stomach before they go to sleep, Dr. Goodman says. In addition, other medications that you might be taking for RA, such as steroids, can make you extra sleepy. Talk to your doctor about how your meds may be contributing to your fatigue in order to develop strategies to manage these medication side effects.
Staying Strong When Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Gets You Down
When the perfect storm of all of these things comes together, and I have reached my breaking point, Im just done. In these moments, I have sat beside my wife and simply said, I just cant do this anymore. I am so tired of this fight. It usually comes after I have tried and tried to do something but cant, or when I feel I have let someone down. In those moments, the sorrow, grief, fatigue, pain, sleeplessness, and exhaustion wash over me, and at that moment, I am done. In that moment, I have given up, and that exhaustion feels overwhelming.
Yet in those moments that seem hopeless, I believe the Lord strengthens me by reminding me of His promises, and through those around me, like my wife, who lovingly sit with me in that place, I am given the will to keep going. Sometimes that looks like a hug, sometimes it looks like encouragement, and sometimes, it looks like the kick in the pants I need in that moment. But no matter the form, it helps me find the strength to fight another day. There is never condemnation for where I am, but understanding, care, and love, and when I am fatigued and exhausted, it is just what I need to keep going.
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Look For Ways To Healthify Your Diet
A healthy lifestyle also includes eating well and drinking enough in order to get proper nutrients and avoid dehydration, which can contribute to fatigue. Dr. Singh notes that obesity can also be a cause of increased RA fatigue. So, consuming a good diet of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and lean meats in addition to exercising can keep your weight at a proper level, which puts less stress on joints and helps your body better handle the effects of the disease.
Be Aware Of Medication Side Effects
While it is necessary for most arthritis patients to take medications to treat pain and other symptoms, drowsiness is a common side effect of many of these drugs. Pain medications, some NSAIDs, DMARDs, and tricyclic antidepressants are among the medications that list drowsiness as a known side effect. If the medications are part of a daily regimen, drowsiness may add to already-present fatigue.
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Coping With Fatigue Associated With Autoimmune Disease
The inflammatory response associated with autoimmune conditions and arthritis is systemicmeaning it affects the whole body. These conditions can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, swelling, stiffness, loss of joint functionand fatigue. In fact, fatigue is one of the most commonand frustratingsymptoms.
Fatigue Is Different Than Feeling Tired
Fatigue is different than ordinary tiredness. Fatigue is disruptive and interferes with all aspects of daily living. About 10 million healthcare provider visits each year are attributed to fatigue, and many of those are tied to arthritis-related conditions.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, 98 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients and 50 percent of people with lupus or Sjogren’s syndrome report fatigue. The percentage escalates with obesity and depression, and complications of secondary conditions such as fibromyalgia, lung conditions, and cardiovascular problems.
People often feel that fatigue is inadequately addressed during healthcare provider visits, likely because there is no quick fix. The impact of fatigue is significant. Many people describe its effect on their lives as greater than pain. Fatigue is extreme weariness, overwhelming exhaustion, a feeling of being “wiped-out,” and having no energyeven after a night’s sleep. Fatigue affects your ability to think, and its unrelenting presence can cause emotions to change quickly.
Here are 10 tips for fighting fatigue. Talk with your healthcare provider and make sure all of these issues have been addressed.
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Talk About How Youre Feeling
Fatigue can make you feel low or depressed. Talking about how you feel can really help. Dont keep your feelings to yourself. Try to talk to a member of your healthcare team, members of a support group, your family or friends.
There are things that can help if youre feeling low. Your healthcare team may recommend a talking therapy, such as cognitive behaviour therapy also known as CBT. You can do it as one-to-one or group sessions.
Talking therapies aim to help people change the way they see their condition and any negative feelings towards it. Sessions, led by trained therapists, can help people change the way they react to and feel about their condition by making positive changes to the way they think and behave.
NHS England has a dedicated programme called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, known as IAPT. It aims to connect people with anxiety and depression to local talking therapy services. You can refer yourself to this service by visiting the NHS England website and searching for IAPT or ask a health professional to refer you.
Health services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland dont currently offer a self-referral service, but you can ask your doctor to refer you to a local NHS therapy service or group.
Joining a support group for people living with similar conditions can help you talk openly about your problems with people in similar situations. They may also be able to share tips on how to get around some of your problems.
How Chronic Fatigue Affects You
Fatigue can be a serious and debilitating symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. Those who suffer from chronic fatigue report that it makes them feel so physically exhausted that everyday tasks of life become a burden. They report that their limbs feel heavy, weak and are difficult to move.
Fatigue also affects ones ability to focus, making it difficult to perform daily tasks at home, work or school. It may also be challenging to pay attention during conversations. Chronic Fatigue can lead to decreased workplace productivity, social isolation, and depression.
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Ask For A Sleep Divorce
You know the basics: Avoid screens, caffeine, and alcohol before bed sleep in a dark room try relaxation exercises before hitting the hay. But more significant changes to your household sleeping arrangements might be in order to reduce sleep disturbances. If you share a bed with pets or children, work toward having them stay in their own space. If your partner snores or sheet-hogs, you may want to consider a sleep divorce, a.k.a. sleeping in separate beds, Brady-Bunch style, or in separate rooms. A good nights sleep can help you fight daytime RA fatigueand spend more quality time with your partner.
Clinical Association Studies: Multiple Regression
Multiple linear regression in the initial clinical association study showed that five variables explained 53% of variation in VAS fatigue scores . Pain had the strongest association, then HAQ and depression. Methotrexate and erosive disease had negative associations, indicating that patients receiving methotrexate had less fatigue and that those without erosions had more fatigue.
Multiple linear regression in the second study showed that three variables explained 53% of the variation in VAS fatigue scores . Pain had the strongest positive association, followed by SF-36 mental health score and patient global assessment. Finally, an ordinal regression model of the relationships of SF-36 energy and vitality scores showed that three variables had significant associations: HAQ and pain had the strongest association followed by SF-mental health scores .
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Share Your Experiences With Family And Friends If You Feel Comfortable Doing So
When she really isnt up to meeting friends or family, Elisa prioritizes her health over social engagements and virtual events, instead of trying to push through the fatigue. She finds that people are more understanding when she explains why she needs to cancel plans at the last minute. I used to try to not talk about my rheumatoid arthritis very much and just come up with some reason that I needed to go home or to cut plans short, she explains. But Elisa says constantly coming up with excuses was exhausting too. Now shes just honest. I try to take the approach that I do a disservice to those around me when I dont want to share my journey, she says. Im okay with saying, I know its only 10:30 in the morning, but Ive got to shower and lie down for an hour.