Keep An Eye On Your Mood
In many cases the reason that simply addressing RA disease activity doesnt work in reducing fatigue is because the tiredness is due to another co-morbid factor, such as depression. Multiple studies have shown depression to be a strong predictor of fatigue in RA, Dr. Singh says. Living with a chronic illness is understandably not easy, which can over time lead to mental health symptoms. Because depression, stress, and other mental issues can actually take a physical toll on RA patients, it can be important to receive psychological treatment in dealing with RA.
RA can feel overwhelming, so getting help and support from friends and family can help, Dr. Goodman says. In addition, one study showed that cognitive behavior therapy was effective in reducing RA fatigue other studies have shown that mindfulness meditation and other stress management techniques can help, too.
Along With Rheumatoid Arthritis One Can Also Have Fibromyalgia
Both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, such as including pain and fatigue. However, rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation and joint pain and treatment can be done with various classes of medications.
On the other hand, the pain from fibromyalgia can be constant. Other than this, rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disease, whereas fibromyalgia is a long-term or chronic disease which need not worsen over time.
When a person is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, then the risk of developing fibromyalgia increases too. Experts say that more than 20 to 30 percent of patients suffer from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis together.
Some of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia are: Anxiety/depression headaches irritable bowel syndrome insomnia, fatigue and sensitivity to changes in light, sound and temperature.
Fibromyalgia has no cure and its symptoms can be managed by: controlling stress good diet getting sufficient sleep and meditation for relaxation.
How Does Fatigue Affect Quality Of Life
Fatigue can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Numerous studies have found RA fatigue is associated with poor sleep, increased pain, depressive symptoms, and high levels of disability.
One study from King’s College London, United Kingdom, finds fatigue is closely associated with pain, which was most severe in people with additional conditions, such as fibromyalgia, and RA related complications, such as those affecting the heart or lungs.
In addition to feeling tired all the time, fatigue affects the quality of life for people with RA by causing:
- Coping Troubles. RA patients who experience high levels of fatigue have a harder time coping with pain, which ultimately makes pain worse.
- Concentration Problems. High levels of fatigue can affect critical thinking and decision making. Fatigue makes it hard to grasp and understand ideas, find focus, and break down problems.
- Feeling Helpless. Feeling physically and emotionally exhausted can make a person feel like they have little control over their lives. Fatigue also makes to harder to find the motivation to take control.
- Irritability. Being physically and emotionally tired affects mood and can make a person feel grouchy and irritable.
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Is Insomnia A Symptom Of Psoriatic Arthritis
As if thats not enough, chronic pain can also make it hard to sleep. While psoriatic arthritis does not directly cause insomnia, the tendon, ligament and joint pain can interrupt your sleep and lead to restless nights. Whats more, psoriatic arthritis is associated with an increased risk of other illnesses that are linked to sleep disturbances or fatigue, including:
Dont Let Arthritis Keep You From Living Restore Your Energy With These Science
Aside from joint pain, fatigue is one of the most difficult rheumatoid arthritis symptoms to deal with. Fatigue refers to exhaustion that interferes with your daily life and may linger even after a full nights sleep. It affects an estimated 40 to 70 percent of people with RA. In fact, its a common early symptom of the condition, often prompting people to seek medical help in the first place.
What causes arthritis-related fatigue? There are a number of reasons why you might feel tired all the time. Joint pain alone can be incredibly exhausting. It drains your energy during the day, and makes it hard to get comfortable at bedtime. Tossing and turning each night can lead to insomnia and chronic daytime sleepiness.
Inflammation, a natural immune system response, is another possible cause of fatigue. Normally, inflammation helps your body attack invaders like bacteria and repair wounds. But RA tricks your immune system into going after your own cells instead. Those cells release cytokines, or messenger proteins that help direct the immune response.
Know that achy, wiped-out feeling you get with the flu? Cytokines are to blame, so RA can feel a bit like always having the flu.
Other reasons you might be exhausted include the following:
Medications: Drugs like some antidepressants, pain meds and anti-inflammatories cause fatigue.
Depression: Insomnia and inflammation both raise your risk of depression, which can worsen pain and fatigue.
Regular exercise can:
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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.
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2. Kick-start your exercise routine. Inactivity can be a vicious circle RA fatigue makes it hard to get moving, and inactivity makes fatigue worse,” Ali explains. “Most people with RA do feel energized after exercise. It may help to work with a physical therapist to get started.” The best exercises for people with RA are often low-impact activities like stationary cycling, swimming, and walking.
3. Nix the naps. A good nights sleep requires healthy sleep habits. If possible, avoid napping during the day. You need to be awake for about 16 hours in order to sleep well at night for example, getting up at 7 a.m. and going to bed at 11 p.m. When you do turn in, keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and comfortable and avoid making it an entertainment center . Also, skip the alcohol and heavy meals before bedtime and limit caffeine after noon. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can also help you establish a quality sleep routine that leaves you feeling refreshed.
6. Ask your doctor about medications for 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. “Tramadol is a pain medication that can help improve sleep thats disrupted by RA pain. As 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.
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Do Not Hesitate To Seek Help For Your Mental Health When Suffering From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Feeling stressed occasionally due to rheumatoid arthritis is understandable, however, if you are experiencing constant stressed out emotions, which indicate that your mental health is suffering then seek help ASAP. Given below are some experiences that are a sign of having problems with your mental health condition: Constant fear, anger, sadness, worry, moodiness and hopelessness.
If you feel worse than usual and have lost interest in activities that you enjoyed previously, then talk to a mental health professional for treatment and guidance.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Affect In A Different Manner For Different Ages
A research done in 2017 has revealed that while rheumatoid arthritis is commonly seen in females of ages from 25 to 45, but this disease can develop in males and females from all ages too.
The primary symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation and pain in the joints, but there can occur different degrees of worsening of this disease as one gets older, for example the changes in the symptoms are more prominent if the patient was initially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 20s or 30s.
People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis as they grow older can find it difficult to:
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The Impact Of Fatigue On Work & Career
Employment is an important part of providing for our family and loved ones. For some, their jobs and careers are a part of their identities. But when fatigue is a constant, its increasingly challenging to show up physically or even mentally. 55 percent agreed* that fatigue interferes with their responsibilities.
Because symptoms like fatigue are sometimes invisible, many in the community often feel misunderstood by their employer. As one person shares, I gave up my job because my employer did not understand or care about this disease with few physical signs to the normal person.
Number Of Swollen Joints And Other Arthritis Symptoms Compared Before And After Diet Changes
Investigators found significant improvements using both the DAS28 and the CDAI after the two-week period. The number of tender and swollen joints as observed by the doctor and felt by the patient both went down. There were also decreases in fatigue, stress, and stiffness.
Several pro- and anti-inflammatory linoleic acidderived oxylipins significantly changed after the diet and correlated with the disease index score, according to researchers. Oxylipins are by-products of fatty acids its what the fatty acids are metabolized to, says Heather L. Kramm, MD, a rheumatologist at UW Medicine in Seattle. Dr. Kramm was not involved in this research.
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Ra Diet: What Foods To Eat If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis patients require a stable, healthy diet for a number of reasons. Patients may become overwhelmed by their chronic pain and inflammation, remain undernourished, or develop medical complications.
Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of protecting your overall health, managing weight, improving energy levels, boosting your mental health and boosting your immune system. While diet alone cant treat your symptoms, the right diet for RA can certainly go a long way in helping you feel better overall.
Stress Management Is Important When Suffering From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Stress increases the risk of developing a flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis, and it can also aggravate other coexisting conditions, such as fibromyalgia.
Regular relaxation techniques along with exercise help in keeping the stress at bay and also reduce inflammation. Some of the things one can do to combat stress are: Meditate, go for a walk engage yourself in a hobby, listen to music watch your favorite movie and talk with your friends and family.
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Current Treatments Available And Their Side Effects
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. If left unmanaged, permanent bone or cartilage damage can occur within the first year. Medical treatments and therapy allow patients to continue living happy lives. The goals of any course of RA treatments are:
- Reduce or stop inflammation
- Preventative measures for joint, bone and cartilage damage
- Prevent severe complications associated with RA
Many treatments and therapies exist for rheumatoid arthritis patients. The most popular include the following.
You Are What You Eat Especially When You Have Ra
These findings are very interesting, as there are many unanswered questions about how diet impacts RA, says Kramm. Clinically, these results validate what Im seeing in patients. I wouldnt have expected changes quite this early, but I have seen that dietary modifications can truly make a difference, she says. This sort of validates what we know: We are what we eat.
We have a nutritionist as part of our clinic, and its quite humbling how much she can help people without side effects, says Kramm. That being said, diet is one piece of the treatment. I would caution patients that these results arent predictive of joint damage.
Kramm emphasizes that dietary changes are not a replacement for Food and Drug Administrationapproved RA therapies that have been proven to prevent joint damage and erosion. “I would say that changes in diet are helpful as complementary medicine, she says.
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Check For Thyroid Issues
RA is, as you know, an autoimmune disease. People with an autoimmune condition are more likely to develop another autoimmune condition. One of those conditions that often pairs up with RA is thyroid disease, says Dr. Cappelli. Low thyroid activity, hypothyroidism, causesyou guessed itfatigue. Its reasonable to ask your doctor for a blood test to check for hypothyroidism, she says, even if you dont have some of the other symptoms of the condition, including weight gain, constipation, dizziness, muscle cramps, a hoarse voice, and dry, scaly skin.
And A Few Factors Seemed To Be Responsible Including Being Obese And Also Having Fibromyalgia
When most people think about rheumatoid arthritis , they focus on joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. While those issues are certainly common, they tend to co-exist with another symptom overwhelming fatigue that can be harder for friends and family to understand.
Fatigue is more than being a little tired. Earlier this year, a CreakyJoints/ArthritisPower poll found that 89 percent of people with arthritis said that fatigue interfered with their ability to go about their everyday activities. An important question for treating RA, then, is this: Does severe fatigue resolve when patients receive proper RA treatment?
Fortunately, a new study says yes: 70 percent of newly diagnosed patients who initially presented with high levels of fatigue reported significant improvements in fatigue within a year.
These findings, which were presented at the 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals Annual Meeting in Atlanta, focused on more than 1,000 Canadian patients who had been recently diagnosed with RA and started on a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug , such as methotrexate or sulfasalazine. They suggest that treating RA with these drugs also leads to less fatigue, though whether the medication is directly responsible is unclear. Its equally likely that patients become more energized as a result of their joint pain and stiffness improving.
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The Brain Fog And Fatigue Is Real And So Is Its Management
One of the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is fatigue and it can also be a sign of a new flare-up.
When suffering from fatigue due to rheumatoid arthritis, one can also experience exhaustion and weakness in the day time however, one need not necessarily feel sleepy. Too much fatigue makes it difficult to recall information or concentrate on anything, which are two symptoms of what is known as brain fog.
Treatment helps in reducing rheumatoid arthritis fatigue. Brain fog and fatigue from rheumatoid arthritis can be managed by:
Clinical Symptoms And Inflammatory Markers Were Affected By Diet Changes
The participants were the same individuals in the 2021 analysis and included a total of 22 women with an average age of 55. Two weeks before the study, investigators established each participants clinical and biological baseline. Symptoms and disease severity were measured with two standard methods of evaluating RA: the DAS28 and the Clinical Disease Activity Index.
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Try To Keep A Reserve Of Meals And Supplies That You Can Use On Days When You Need Extra Rest
, 38, is a mom of three, and she says juggling the demands of motherhood and her rheumatoid arthritis fatigue can be tough. Shes found that meal prepping and reserving special toys that keep her kids entertained for longer give her more time to rest on particularly tiring things.
When I’m feeling up to it, I cook big-batch meals and put some in the freezer for days when I have less energy, she tells SELF. Mariah also keeps a cupboard full of quiet activities and crafts that her kids can work on if she needs extra rest time. We also use a system of toy rotation, where about one-third of our toys are out in the playroom and two-thirds are off-limits in a closet, she says. So on days when I am in pain or have less energy, I can bring out new toys that will keep the kids’ attention longer because they haven’t been played with for a while.
Reviewing Ra Medications And Chronic Fatigue
Patients who are experiencing fatigue can ask their healthcare provider to review their complete lists of medications and supplements. Patients are advised to report all medications and supplements, keeping these points in mind:
- Many over-the-counter cold and allergy medications can cause drowsiness or dizziness.
- Certain over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause sleepiness or dizziness.2,3
- Many medications used to treat other conditions, such as depression, allergies, high blood pressure, and diabetes, can also cause fatigue.
Information about the patients chronic fatigue, RA, and medication prescriptions should be shared with all members of the health care team, such as physician specialists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, counselors, and pharmacists.
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