This section looks at the tools and techniques that can help you care for yourself, as well as the health-care professionals on your self-management team.
So you think you have arthritis, and you’re not sure what to do. If you’re like many people, you may try to ignore your pain and discomfort, hoping they will just go away. But ignoring your problem is not the answer. It is usually best to address the issue head-on, and the tips listed in this article can help you do just that.
By some estimates, 60% of hand use depends on the thumb. Because this digit is responsible for so many daily tasks, any pain or loss of mobility in the thumb has a significant impact on daily living. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to manage thumb OA and keep doing your daily activities.
Some people who receive a diagnosis of arthritis follow the “ostrich” routine. They put their heads in the sand and pretend arthritis is not really going to affect them. But most are eager to seek out new skills and useful suggestions that will help them manage their arthritis. And research shows that when they do, they tend to feel better, enjoying improved joint health and a higher quality of life.
Managing your arthritis depends on you and your health-care provider working as a team. That means continuing to make sure your doctor has the information he needs to understand your condition and your treatment goals, and that you have the information you need to manage your arthritis once you step out of your health-care provider's office.
For most people, managing arthritis is about exercise, relaxation, and medicines. But communicating well — making our needs known, saying “no” when appropriate, listening and asking questions, and explaining clearly what’s happening with us — can make a huge difference in our quality of life and in our relationships with family, friends, and doctors.
There's a lot to think about when choosing a form of contraception, and women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, or any condition that increases the amount of antiphospholipid antibodies in their blood are at increased risk for certain adverse events associated with some kinds of birth control. Additionally, some forms of contraception can make certain infections more likely.
Living with arthritis can present many challenges, but there are people who are trained to help. Rehabilitation Counselors guide people with physical limitations through coping with pain and loss of function. Learn more about this valuable resource in accepting what you cannot do and finding new ways to do the things you only think you can’t.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain all over the body. Although millions of Americans have it, there is a great deal that remains unknown about fibromyalgia and how it works. Drug treatment can help to manage the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia, but treatment works best when you also employ certain lifestyle measures.
Because arthritis is a complex set of conditions, it is best addressed from a variety of angles. In some cases, that means care from several different health professionals, all with their own area of expertise. Think of these professionals as your “health-care team.” Each one of them can address an important aspect of your care and contribute to an overall improved quality of life.
You get a new joint...and then what? Should you take it easy? Or is it finally time to learn ultimate jujitsu and run that double marathon? A new joint should give you decreased pain and increased mobility, but you're not Steve Austin. Well, probably not.
Holiday gift giving is a way to show the people in your life how much you care about them. This year, consider giving gifts that will help the people on your list maintain and improve their health. There are many inexpensive options that can keep on giving for a lifetime. Gifts that offer good health and good cheer!
It's easy to think a chair is just a chair, but a chair you use a lot can affect your spine, joints, legs, and arms. At home or at work, most people spend a significant amount of time sitting, and having the right (or wrong) chair can make a big difference in your quality of life. So much depends on the seat you're in, and it's not just a question of comfort — It's a matter of health.
Many people think the primary purpose of informed consent is to protect the hospital from lawsuits or to give the doctor or researcher a green light to go ahead with the procedure, treatment, or study. Informed consent does do these things, but its primary purpose is to grant you specific rights and give you the opportunity to make decisions about your own medical care.
Recent years have seen important developments in the treatment of arthritis, and all of these changes came about as a direct result of clinical trials. Clinical trials don’t just benefit the researchers investigating a treatment — there are many possible benefits for people who participate as well. What exactly is a clinical trial? Should you join one?
When you go to see your doctor, other health-care professionals may perform parts of your examination, explain your diagnosis, and even prescribe medicines for you. Get to know the difference between a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant and the roles they play in keeping you well.
No one looks forward to a stay in the hospital. But if you have to go, it helps to be prepared. That means informing yourself about the procedure you are having and bringing everything you need to protect your safety and privacy — and enhance your comfort.
Arthritis can bring about lots of changes to your life, not all of them welcome. Change can be difficult under any circumstance, but especially so if you feel that you have little control over it. One way to better manage your arthritis is to learn how to prepare yourself for unexpected changes and open yourself to new possibilities.
There may be a number of reasons you feel it isn't working out between you and your doctor. Perhaps you and the doctor do not communicate well, or it seems impossible to get an appointment when you need one. If you aren't happy with your medical care, you might consider at least looking around for a different doctor.
A cruise can be the perfect travel choice for people with arthritis. Cruise ships are hotels that move, letting you visit many places without ever changing rooms. Dining, entertainment, and beautiful views are all onboard, and many cruise lines have a lot of experience accommodating people with mobility issues. But the more you plan ahead, the better your cruise experience will be.
The pain and stiffness that come with arthritis can make moving seem like the last thing you'd want to do. But physical activity is key to keeping yourself functioning well. Not only that, inactivity can make your symptoms worse and have negative effects on your heart, muscles, energy level, bones, and weight.
You probably know or know of someone affected by a grave illness or injury that can lead to severe disability and/or death. In the vast majority of situations like these, people get the medical care they need. But too often, they do not, and the lives of the individuals involved — and their families and friends — are critically and negatively affected. A patient advocate can help.
To live well with arthritis, it’s essential that you take an active role in your health care — in other words, you must become a good self-advocate. Many people find that by being more involved in their care and learning to empower themselves, they can combat depression and anxiety and achieve a better quality of life.
Even with the cost of travel, receiving medical care overseas may be far cheaper than getting the same procedure in the United States. But standards of care are not the same everywhere, and the risks may also be greater depending on where you go. There's a lot you should consider before you book a flight for treatment in another land.
Behavior change can be one of the most challenging parts of improving one's health and quality of life. Everyone knows it's wiser to eat right, exercise, and adopt other healthy habits, but often, something gets in the way. If you're ready to feel better, however, then it's time to ask yourself how your life is structured and whether that structure supports your commitment to living healthfully. Once you answer that question, there's a lot you can do to move toward better health with every choice you make.
There’s a great, big world out there for you to see, but arthritis can make travel more difficult. You may be wondering how you can get your medicines through airport security, or find a hotel room that fits your mobility needs. Fortunately, by researching your options ahead of time, you can work around potential problems, and have the trip of a lifetime!
Having multiple health concerns is the rule rather than the exception for people with arthritis. If you've got diabetes, high blood pressure, or another chronic condition, not only do you need to keep those problems in check, but you also need to do so while avoiding negative interactions with your other conditions and treatments. Luckily, many of the things you can do to manage your arthritis can help you keep a lid on your other conditions as well.
In the excitement (and fluster) of getting started with a new physician, it's easy to forget some of the questions you've been meaning to ask or the details that will give your doctor a clearer picture of your condition. In this article, we bring you tips on how to make sure partnering with a new doctor goes great from day one.
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