Ask Your Doctor About Medications To Treat Fatigue
Certain medications may help chronic fatigue, such as modafinil. However, you need to use these with caution, because once you start taking them, it may be hard to stop, Ali says.
Another option, a low-dose antidepressant, also given at bedtime, has been shown to reduce pain, increase sleep, and reduce fatigue in some people with RA, he says.
Water Aerobics And Swimming
Water aerobics and swimming are effective ways to exercise when you have joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Water is buoyant, which reduces the body weight your joints have to support during exercise.
The deeper the water, the more your body weight is supported. You can exercise in the deep end of a pool with a buoyancy belt. As an added benefit, pools used for exercise are often heated, which helps relieve joint soreness and reduce stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Living And Dealing With Fatigue
People with rheumatoid arthritis typically have several permanently inflamed joints. The inflammation inside the body can lead to general physical weakness, drowsiness and exhaustion. This feeling of extreme tiredness is also called “.” Some people find this to be the worst symptom of the disease.
Other typical symptoms are joint pain and swelling, and also joint stiffness and physical weakness later on. Non-specific symptoms like exhaustion often start earlier on in the disease. But the symptoms and course of rheumatoid arthritis can vary greatly. People also deal with the disease in different ways. Although people experience their symptoms differently and cope with the disease in different ways, there are some things that many people with rheumatoid arthritis have in common.
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Break Plans And Say No
The emotional and physical energy you use when dealing with RA fatigue can take its toll. Early on, rest is usually more appropriate, Dr. Goodman says, especially if the disease is not yet under control. Even after your RA is better managed, make sure to listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and dont overdo it. Acceptance of your condition, and its limitations, is key when coping with a long-term illness. But if your fatigue is interfering with your job, your ability to stay awake throughout the day, or your overall quality of life, let your doctor know. You may need to tweak your medication regimen or try different physical and occupational therapies to find techniques that will work for you to better handle RA fatigue.
Increase Your Physical Activity
Adding some gentle exercises to your day can increase the amount of energy you have.
Staying active increases your fitness levels and strengthens your muscles. Weak muscles use more energy, so doing too little can be as damaging as doing too much.
Exercise also increases your circulation and improves the health of vital organs, such as your heart and lungs, which can also give you more energy.
Its important to give yourself time to recover after exercise by taking a break before you move onto your next activity.
When you start exercising
Introducing more physical activity to your day may be tiring at first. Dont overdo it, start your activity slowly, perhaps just add a 510 minute walk or some gentle stretching exercises to begin with.
If youre in pain you can take painkillers before you exercise.
Gradually build up the amount of activity you do. For example, when youre ready, walk for 5 more minutes or add some strengthening exercises to your routine.
Generally, the best way to build up your fitness levels is to do a little exercise as often as you can. Stick with it because as you get fitter youll start to feel better, stronger and more energetic.
You could try using a step counter such as a fitness tracker, a pedometer, or a mobile phone app. When youre ready and depending on how youre feeling, you could try to beat your previous records.
You should aim to exercise every day. But be aware some days will be easier than others.
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What Is It Like To Live With Rheumatoid Arthritis
If youre fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis, you can live an active, normal life, but you may need to practice self-care to minimize your pain and symptoms. Here are a few ways that those suffering from RA manage it:
Physical Activity. Regular exercise is vital. Staying strong and keeping muscles active is a great way to reduce pain. Suggested activities include low-impact aerobics, dance, Pilates, yoga and other exercises that strengthen muscles and promote flexibility. Patients should see a doctor or physical therapist for recommended activities based on their abilities and then lessen the intensity if any joint damage has already occurred.
Diet. Eating foods that help keep inflammation low can be greatly beneficial to those suffering from RA. Most of these items fall into the traditional Mediterranean diet menu of fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables. Foods to avoid include anything processed like packaged cookies and crackers, and fast foods.
Temperature Therapies. Some Rheumatoid Arthritis patients find relief using heating pads and hot baths to soothe stiff joints and muscles. Alternately, for a rapid reduction of inflammation to numb sharp pain, ice packs can be utilized.
Community. Connecting with others who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or discussing the ailment with supportive friends and family members may help to mentally navigate the condition.
Rearrange Your Kitchen Counter
A simple natural way to prevent fatigue: Put everything you use often within easy reach. Then do the same in your bathroom and bedroom. Set up your home to make life a little easier on you, particularly on the more difficult days, say experts.
And use specialized assistive tools throughout the day zipper pulls, gripping tools, electric can openers, and long shoe horns can all help conserve energy and ease pain.
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Talking To Your Doctor About Fatigue
There are several things that can reduce the impact of fatigue. Firstly, it helps if you can work out what could be causing it.
There arent any specific tests for fatigue. However, you can help your doctors diagnosis by writing down how you feel, what could be causing it and how its affecting your life. They may also be able to provide you with a self-assessment questionnaire to fill out.
Depending on your symptoms your doctor may recommend you have blood tests to check your fatigue hasnt been caused by another condition. If it has been, treating this condition may improve your fatigue.
There arent any specific drug treatments for fatigue. However, your doctor, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or rheumatology team, should be able to help you recognise the signs and learn to manage them.
Readers Favorite Tips To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue
Its tough work for PRD to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis fatigue on top of pain and disability. Here are some ways readers cope.
- Budget energy wisely. Guard energy.
- Have a regular schedule. Or go to bed early.
- Do gentle modified stretching or yoga.
- Eat a nutritious, balanced snack such as protein bar and fruit.
- Try relaxation or meditation techniques.
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I Built Restorative Rest Time Into My Day
Just as I have made changes to my life to manage my pain, I also needed to make changes to cope with fatigue. I treat my daily nap as a sacred part of my efforts to manage pain and fatigue and quickly learned that I feel much better when I respect my bodys request for some downtime. Even if you dont have the flexibility to nap, you can give your body rest in different ways, including sitting on a bench, finding a quiet corner at work to meditate, or taking half an hour of lying on the couch when you come home. Simply getting off your feet and being still can make a difference.
My RA doesnt define me, but the reality is that it does affect everything I do and how I do it. I have finally realized that fighting back against this fact wastes precious energy on a futile endeavour. I know now that if I want to live as well as possible, I need to take care of my body and that includes accepting the fatigue. Making changes that address this ultimately creates a better life for me.
Ra Fatigue: How Do I Control Chronic Fatigue From Ra
Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating condition that causes a wide range of symptoms. One of the most prevalent symptoms experienced in suffering from rheumatoid arthritis is chronic fatigue. Fighting fatigue for rheumatoid arthritis patients seems like an ongoing uphill battle.
For those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, feelings of fatigue and constant tiredness can make it difficult to get through each day. But there are some ways to help beat fatigue, stay alert, and feel more rested and happy.
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How Do People Cope With Exhaustion
Many people gradually come to learn how to regulate their energy better and to accept the changes associated with the condition. They pay more attention to their body’s signals and then adjust what kinds of activities they do based on their symptoms.
As well as the phases where the arthritis gets much worse, there are also periods where it’s possible to live a quite normal life. It often helps to start seeing the condition as a part of your life and to set new goals that you can still achieve anyway. Some people say that the disease has helped them to live their lives more consciously.
Many mention in interviews that they’ve discovered practical ways of dealing with :
- Learn to say “no” sometimes
- Don’t plan to do too much at once
- Reconsider and adapt your goals
- Plan activities carefully, take your time, spread out demanding tasks across the week.
- Take breaks before you become too exhausted
- Get to bed early, take naps and learn relaxation techniques
- Avoid going out at busy times of the day, for instance when you go shopping or on a trip
- Talk with others about your disease so that they can better understand how it affects you
- Talk to others who have rheumatoid arthritis so that you can learn from their experiences
Eat Breakfast Every Day
Your mother likely harped on this when you were a small child. Guess whatMom was right. When you first wake up, your blood sugar is low. Eating a proper breakfast can serve as an energy booster. Skipping breakfast drains your energy, contributing to the fatigue problem. It’s important to eat nutritiously at every meal but focus on breakfast to start your day off right.
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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.
What Are The Treatment Options For Those Suffering From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Although there is presently no cure for it, there are many Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment options that can be used for relief, in addition to the self-care tips above.
Topical Treatments. Whether in the form of creams, gels or patches, options that are applied directly to the skin can be very soothing, reducing inflammation and pain.
Supplements. Taking supplements like Omega-3 fish oil capsules and turmeric may ease morning stiffness and pain, but its important to discuss this option with a doctor to confirm there will be no interactions with any other medicines prescribed.
Medications. There are a variety of drugs that can help to slow the progression of the disease. Some of these include: Corticosteroids DMARDs JAK inhibitors and Biologics . Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin and Ibuprofen can also be taken to ease symptoms. Work with a rheumatologist to find the right treatment plan for your needs.
Surgery. Though the most invasive of the treatments, if mobility is limited or daily functions are prevented from the progression of RA, joint replacement surgery may be an option. The procedure consists of a surgeon replacing the damaged parts of a joint with plastic and or metal substitutions. Hips, knees, shoulders, elbows and other common areas of damage are all candidates for this type of surgery.
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How Ra Fatigue Affects My Daily Life
The fatigue that has hitched a ride on my RA journey interferes with what I can do, how I move, what I eat, and what I wear. It disrupts my ability to work, focus, think, tell jokes, learn, debate, and even remember loved ones birthdays.
My fatigue is a heavy, lead-lined cape that weighs down every movement so I need more energy for even simple tasks. It also dulls my mind, adding ever-denser wisps of fog to slow my thinking and obscure memory. As I become more tired, I must use more of my available mental and physical strength on every step and task throughout the day, so I must prioritize what is most important.
Inevitably, I spend most of my energy on need-based tasks such as work so I can pay for my rent, groceries, and medication, leaving none for what I want to do or what my emotional health needs. Translation: I dont call my friends, cancel plans too many times, forget birthdays, and beat myself up for not being there for the people I love. The next ripple is increasing social and emotional isolation that becomes depression. Ironically, depression also contributes to fatigue and the vicious cycle starts anew.
But I also discovered what has been found in many research studies: that for me, and so many others, some of the fatigue remains, even if my RA pain and swelling is considered in remission. But when I go back to my doctor, desperate for tools to deal with this bone-crushing exhaustion, there is no magic wand.
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Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Flare If You Do Certain Activities
Rheumatoid arthritis fatigue tends to flare when your inflammation is running its course. People living with rheumatoid arthritis get stiff during the night while they sleep, Dr. Rosian explains. In the morning, especially if they havent slept well, theyre very stiff and achy. As they get moving, they get less stiff and achy. They get more energy.
In other words, good news: Physical activity doesnt make rheumatoid arthritis fatigue worse. Things that have an impact on your immune system stress, not sleeping and having anesthesia could bring on flares, says Dr. Rosian. But exercise doesnt bring on flares. Physical therapy isnt going to bring on flares. Going to the gym and working out does not give you a flare-up.
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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.
What Kind Of Treatment Could Help Against Fatigue
Sometimes is still a major problem despite adjusting your daily schedule, doing physical exercise and getting support from other people. Then professional help may be an option, for instance in the form of psychological treatment or occupational therapy. Some specialized programs have been developed specifically for people who have fatigue as a result of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. They’re designed to do things like help you plan activities and make sure you don’t use up all of your energy at once.
Cognitive behavioral therapy strategies can also be learned to help cope with . Some involve recognizing and then changing certain thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that make it more difficult to live with the disease.
Studies on non-drug treatments show that approaches used in occupational therapy and psychotherapy can relieve exhaustion.
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