If you were recently diagnosed with arthritis or one of the other rheumatic diseases, you may be feeling anxious, even a little overwhelmed. This is a natural response to an unexpected turn in the road.
How do you handle your very real concerns? By knowing the facts.
First, the reality. With proper treatment, you can manage this condition and still have a good and productive life. There are numerous medications that have been proven effective and expert health professionals who will help.
However, you also have to take control of the situation. That means making sure you get adequate exercise, ample rest and good nutrition. It also means learning about this disease and taking steps to address your own needs.
The knowledge you acquire and the positive approach you take to your new lifestyle will make the difference between just coping with rheumatic disease and living well, despite your diagnosis.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are a family of illnesses that can cause inflammation (redness, swelling and pain), changes in the joints and pain in the surrounding structures. They also may make it difficult to do daily activities. In fact, there are more than 100 different rheumatic conditions.
While the symptoms may vary, as a rule, these conditions target the musculoskeletal system, including the bones, joints, muscles, and tendons that contribute to function. Some people also can have internal organ involvement or even more than one of these conditions at the same time.
Therefore, it may take time for your primary care physician, rheumatologist, or other health care professional to determine your particular diagnosis and the best treatment approach for you. Your participation in this effort—and your patience—will make a substantial contribution to a successful diagnosis and your comfort levels.