Choosing To Live Better

What To Expect With A Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis

If you have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you probably have a lot of questions. Arthritis is a common medical condition that affects people of all ages, though it is more common as you age. While you're coming to terms with your diagnosis, here are a few of the things that you should know.

Rheumatoid arthritis comes in stages

Your doctor may have given you a diagnosis that includes a stage for your rheumatoid arthritis. There are four stages to the condition. Each stage indicates a level of progression. Not only that, but rheumatoid arthritis can go into remission sometimes, leaving you with stretches of time in which you have no symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the stage of your diagnosis, what that means for you, and what you can expect going forward as the condition progresses.

There are many treatment options

One of the first things that your doctor should do is review your treatment options. Rheumatoid arthritis can be affected by your diet, so your doctor will recommend that you eat a low-inflammation, high-nutrient diet for maximum nutritional benefit without worsening your inflammation. 

Inflammatory triggers vary for everyone but can include things such as gluten, dairy, nightshades, soy, and sugar. Your doctor can recommend an elimination diet or refer you for sensitivity testing to help you narrow down your inflammatory triggers.

You might also be referred for physical therapy and provided with anti-inflammatory pain medication, antirheumatic medications, and other prescriptions to ease your symptoms. Finally, surgery is recommended in some cases to repair tendon damage or replace damaged joints.

You can expect unpredictability

One of the hardest things for many patients with rheumatoid arthritis is the unpredictability of the condition. One day you might have no symptoms at all and be able to be happily active with your family and productive at work. The next day, you might struggle with a flare-up that leaves you in pain and facing reduced mobility. It is important that you understand the variations of the symptoms and establish a support system for those days when your condition flares up and you are unable to do some of your routine tasks.

These are some of the most important things to know if you have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Take time to talk with your doctor and seek a referral to a rheumatologist for more comprehensive care when necessary. The more you understand and can advocate for yourself, the easier it will be to manage your condition.