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Is having ra the end of the world or can you live a normal life and do most things, do people have it and run, swim and do everything.

By Anonymous November 11, 2010 - 5:22pm
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I have had RA all my life. I am now 27, but was first diagnosed at 16. I had symtoms forever though, but they couldnt figure out what was wrong with me until I was 16 and finally got diagnosed. However, after i got on medicine that I needed, My symptoms went away (within a year) and I was back to my old self- biking, swimming, partying, everything! I have been off and on drugs off the last two years, while I got pregnant and breastfeed. I am still nursing my 9 month old son, but my symptoms are returning, so I am going to start my meds again soon. Usually when you get pregannt, your symptoms go away while you are pregnant! Its amazing. I totally forgot I had RA! now its coming back full swing, because I am not taking meds for as long as possible (trying to breastfeed til lmy son is one year old) and im a little depressed about it, because i realize how fragile we all are. However, at the same time i think my RA has given me a new appreciation of life that I am thankful for. The main thing is to find a medicine combo that works to PREVENT a flare up. I have no pain or swelling when i consistently take my meds. I completely forget I have it sometimes. Also, I would say stay clear on reading too much on blogs, because a lot of people will scare you, but as the previous writer said, your case may be a lot less bad than other people's- everyone is unique! But if you are like me, you will be FINE. Love you! Twice I went 8 years without flare ups and no meds!! however, I think that was because I was still young. I expect meds will be an everyday thing as soon as I stop having children.

November 24, 2012 - 4:02pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon - Are you asking this question because you have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? Learning that you have any type of chronic illness, whether it is arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and many others, can be very upsetting. When you look up information on these conditions the available information often focuses on the disease process and worst case scenarios, which can be frightening. What is a lot more helpful is understanding that a chronic condition is different, and must be managed in order to have the best health and quality of life possible.

Without knowing your specific situation it is impossible to know whether you will be among those with RA who do run, swim, exercise, hold jobs, travel and do many other things. I can tell you, as someone who also lives with a chronic medical condition, that it's going to be an ongoing educational process to learn what you can do to deal with symptoms, medication side effects, lifestyle changes and other aspects of chronic illness.

A place to start learning about living with RA is our conditions section at http://www.empowher.com/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis There are articles on topics such as dealing with fatigue, how food affects arthritis flare-ups, and more. You may also find it helpful to get involved with the Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org/ and consider joining a support group. Other patients are often the best source for learning coping strategies and are also far more willing to talk with you about your concerns than people who do not share the same condition.

Many people come to our site wanting a simple yes or no answer and you may be one of them. When you have a chronic illness things are no longer simple, including a lot of everyday tasks that you used to be able to take for granted. It can be very frustrating to deal with all of the issues, pain, questions, expenses and general hassles of the illness. In the long run, however, taking things one day at a time and becoming your own best advocate by learning all you can to manage your condition is what is going to give you the best quality of life and determine what you can and can't do to a very large extent.

I hope things go well for you and wish you the best.

Take care,

November 11, 2010 - 5:50pm
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