build your team
Support can come in many forms
Because rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive disease, it's important to do what you can to manage it—no matter what stage of RA you're in. That includes relying on a team that you’ve personally assembled to help you — physically and emotionally — as you manage the realities of RA. Keep aware of changes in your condition including those times you find yourself staying in bed longer or preparing meals less and less, simply accepting “this is the way it is.” These changes could indicate any number of things, so look to your support team for help in determining if you should be taking additional steps. Maybe it’s not you, and maybe your current treatment plan needs to be reviewed. Just be as actively involved in planning your treatment as possible. Having a support team means you're not in this alone.
Start building your support team from the ground up
Your healthcare team
Your doctor and other healthcare professionals want you to have the best life you can. So your first step is to have an open communication with all of them. The more they know, the more they can help. This goes for you, too. Know as much as you can about what your doctor prescribed, as well as the many treatment options out there. Has your doctor recommended consulting with a rheumatologist? This specialist has specific training in inflammatory joint disorders and is skilled in identifying and treating the pain and loss of function that often happens with RA. Your primary care physician can recommend a rheumatologist and work with this specialist to produce the best treatment outcome possible for you.
Your family and friends
Don't forget to talk and be active with family and friends. Your social time may not
be like it used to, but you can still let people know you care about them. If you find it awkward to talk about your condition, share a page from this site to help start the conversation.
Other people who share your condition
Did you know there are 1.3 million adults in the U.S. with RA? Get support by reaching out and connecting. See the RA resources section for a list of organizations and websites that can help you get started.