RA body
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Living with RA Disability


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is considered a chronic disease. A characteristic of chronic disease is its disabling features. Walking may become more difficult. Activities like dressing, preparing meals, performing personal hygiene and completing household chores become harder and harder. Life becomes increasingly challenging until a person hits a crossroad where they make changes in his or her life or gradually slips down the slippery slope into a dependence that requires custodial care and no turning back.  RA is known for making life challenging in many ways. Like cancer, diabetes or all the other autoimmune diseases, being able to live with RA starts by making changes to our lifestyle.

Pain management is a big concern for those with RA. There is no going around the fact that pain is a common feature of every day RA life. There has been much written on managing pain. Managing pain is possible with the help of professionals skilled in pain management. The topic requires its own space although these suggestions will help lease the burden of that pain.

For now, let’s look at some simple changes. Foot pain is a big issue for me and for many with RA. Before I changed how I dressed my feet, I could barely walk. I saw a podiatrist who recommended shoe changes and customized inserts. I started out with a selection from a New Balance store and then progressed to wearing special shoes with custom inserts. My feet still have problems, numbness and night pain, but on a day to day level my feet are comfortable, and my mobility is normal. It was a simple change but had a dramatic effect on me.

I am on chemo for a current cancer. Fatigue is a big problem for me as it is for an RA flare. Keeping clothing uncomplicated can save a lot. Nightgowns take less energy than does putting on PJs (yes, it is that bad). Summer dresses such as wraps are easier for work, fewer pieces. Pull ons and pull overs make summer living easy.  Yes, we need a certain number of zippers and buttons but adding slip ons makes life easier. Even with button up shirts unbuttoning the top buttons and slipping over the head gives fewer buttons to close.

Shoulder pain is its own problem. Loose clothing is easier to manage as are knits instead of fitted jackets. It is important to us individually that we look our best.

Consider it a personal challenge to select clothing that is easy to wear as well as fashionable. It will boost your spirit as well as making the morning routine less stressful. These are just a few suggestions to get your mind on a tract that will make life easier as well a keep your fashion sense satisfied.

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