Living With Rheumatic Diseases

Your physical health ensures you’re able to engage in routine activities, such as work, and enjoy recreational activities. Many people take their health for granted until they experience physical pain or develop a medical condition limiting their range of motion.

Rheumatic diseases affect almost 50 million people in the United States. In addition to the physical discomfort people with rheumatic diseases experience, rheumatic diseases are responsible for billions in healthcare costs each year and affect almost 30 percent of patients from working full-time. Living with a rheumatic illness isn’t easy. Read on to learn more about rheumatic diseases, their symptoms, and how to manage your symptoms and regain your quality of life for years to come.

What are common rheumatic diseases and their symptoms?

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in your joints breaks down. The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is another form of arthritis that also causes joint pain. With rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the joints. It can also attack organs.

Lupus can affect your organs, skin, and joints. People with lupus experience flare-ups when parts of their bodies are inflamed. Common symptoms can include joint pain and fatigue. Gout also causes joint pain. It’s triggered when crystal deposits build up in your joints, causing inflammation. Other rheumatic diseases include scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, and bursitis.

See a rheumatologist.

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Rheumatologists are medical doctors who’ve trained to treat patients with diseases affecting the bones, muscles, and joints. Google “rheumatology near me” to locate rheumatologists in your area. Using MediFind’s search tool is a great way to identify rheumatologists you can see for treatment. Enter your zip code and choose a radius to limit your search. You can produce a list of all rheumatologists within ten, 25, or 50 miles of your location to ensure you can receive expert medical advice without traveling across the country.

Access affordable medications.

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People with gout and lupus may take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce flare-ups, while people with rheumatoid arthritis take anti-rheumatic drugs. Prescription medications may play a critical role in pain management and symptom reduction.

Use USA Rx to find discounts on medications to treat your condition. Their website’s designed to help you find the lowest possible price on the prescriptions you need, ensuring you can afford medication. USArx buys medications in bulk and passes the savings on to consumers.

You type the name of the medication you need into the search bar on their site, and the tool generates a list of local retailers who sell that medication and how much they charge, enabling you to compare prices from Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and other pharmacies. The site also locates coupons you can use to save money. You can also sign up for their discount card.

See a physical therapist and occupational therapist.

Physical therapists develop a treatment plan for each patient. Physical therapists help patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis retain their muscle strength and range of motion. They use physical exercises targeting different muscle groups and joints. Your physical therapist will also help you with pain management, introducing strategies to reduce chronic pain.

While physical therapists focus on gross motor activities, occupational therapists use exercises and activities to help patients retain or restore their fine motor skills. The treatment plan your occupational therapist will use focuses on ensuring you can perform routine tasks, such as tying your shoelaces or buttoning your shirt.

Consider Surgery

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Surgery is a treatment option for some patients with osteoarthritis, scleroderma, gout, Sjogren’s syndrome, and bursitis. You must discuss this treatment option with your rheumatologist to ensure it’s necessary and address your condition. In rare cases, people with rheumatoid arthritis may opt to reduce joint pain by having surgery.

Manage your lifestyle.

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People with lupus can reduce the frequency of flare-ups by limiting their exposure to the sun and changing their diet. Dietary changes can also help manage gout. Additionally, reducing your consumption of alcohol can prevent gout. Since the dietary changes for different rheumatic illnesses may vary, you must consult your rheumatologist and a dietician to determine how to modify your diet.

Retrain for a new career.

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Rheumatic illnesses affect your ability to move because they cause joint pain and swelling. The symptoms may inhibit your ability to stay in your current career. You may benefit from retraining to pursue a different career option. For example, suppose you typically experience symptoms in your knee and ankle joints. In that case, you could switch to an administrative career, enabling you to sit throughout the day and reduce strain on your lower joints.

Living with a rheumatic illness is challenging. Using medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and surgery can help you manage your symptoms. You may also be able to prevent symptoms with lifestyle changes.

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