Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Battle with Chronic Fatigue

photo of a man suffering from arthritis

Pain and swelling of the joints aren’t the only symptoms of RA or rheumatoid arthritis. The majority of people living with RA likewise experience chronic fatigue, which is basically physical and mental exhaustion.

Studies have shown that 50% of RA patients experience high fatigue levels, while 80% of them feel run down. Fatigue, especially if you’re living with RA, could be immensely overwhelming, but you don’t need to live with it. The following lifestyle habits and medications could help increase your energy levels and ease chronic fatigue:

Keep Moving

The last thing you want to do is move around and exercise if you already feel exhausted. But according to the Arthritis Foundation, plenty of studies have shown that regular physical activity and the right exercises could significantly alleviate symptoms of chronic fatigue. Research has likewise shown that obese individuals with RA have an increased risk of developing chronic fatigue than those with a healthy weight.

Sleep Right

While sleep aids could offer better sleep, which in turn helps in relieving fatigue and pain, you shouldn’t solely depend on them. Practice proper sleep routine, which includes exercising regularly during the daytime, restricting caffeine intake, and in a dark and cool room. An experienced rheumatoid arthritis care expert in Las Vegas also recommends turning off all electronic devices one hour prior to sleeping.

Keep Your Pain in Check

Continue taking your prescribed pain medications to control your pain. These might include NSAIDs, acetaminophen, oral or injectable corticosteroids, topical pain relievers, or injections of hyaluronic acid.

Embrace the Hot and the Cold

Warm or hot compresses and baths relax muscles and boost blood circulation, which in turn could alleviate stiffness and pain. Cold compresses, on the other hand, slow down blood circulation, which in turn could help decrease pain and inflammation.

Give Your Mind Ample TLC

Other than taking care of your physical symptoms, you need to give your mind some TLC. Try yoga, meditation, tai chi, and deep breathing to promote better mind and body connection. These activities would help improve your energy levels and mood. If you suffer from mental issues, such as anxiety and depression, ask your rheumatologist for a therapist recommendation and/or anti-depressants.

Beating chronic fatigue would take a lot of monitoring and time, but you need to stay positive. In addition, keep in mind that while some treatments might work for others, there’s no guarantee that the same treatments would work for you as well. So, continue working with your rheumatologist to track your condition and find the right treatments.