What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a challenging, complicated and unpredictable disease. This booklet is for anyone who has rheumatoid arthritis or is interested in finding out more about the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and treatment. You will find out about the different approaches to living with the condition – from drugs to keeping active – and get a taste of the skills and strategies that will help you cope.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that makes the joints in your body become inflamed. It is the second most common form of arthritis. Between one and three people in every hundred develop rheumatoid arthritis, and it can start at any age. Most of these people, around three-quarters, are women. Although you are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis in your middle years – between 30 and 50 – children, young adults and older people can also get it.
Rheumatoid Arthritis & Inflammation
In rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks your joints – and sometimes other parts of your body – for no reason. The attack can go on for a long time, or come and go.
Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
There is plenty that can be done to help control rheumatoid arthritis and make it more manageable. Many different professionals will work together to help you manage your arthritis, but they are all aiming for the same goals: to reduce inflammation and slow down, or even stop, any damage to your joints, to relieve your symptoms – like pain, fatigue and stiffness and to help you get on with your life as well as possible.
In this booklet you will find:
- Introducing rheumatoid arthritis: What happens in rheumatoid arthritis, what the causes are and what joints are affected, How a diagnosis is reached
- How rheumatoid arthritis will affect you
- Managing your arthritis: How to get the most from your team and what treatment you might be given
- Taking care of joints: How to use and rest your joints; how a rheumatoid arthritis diet, exercise and complementary therapies might help
- Taking control: Coping with pain and fatigue; dealing with feelings and relationships; how self-management training can help
- Practicalities: How to manage at home; what help is available in terms of work, education, transport and benefits