Arthritis Doesn’t Have to Get the Better of You

You don’t have to let arthritis get the better of you.

Diet, exercise, and sensible living can do a great deal to help you control your arthritis, and not let it control you.

ArthritisAlthough arthritis affects about 46 million Americans, evidence indicates it’s a condition that can be managed.

Make no mistake. Arthritis is a foe that shouldn’t be taken lightly—but it’s a foe that’s not likely to get the better of you unless you let it.

When up against any foe, you’re more much more likely to be successful when you know exactly what you’re facing. So, before proceeding, let’s size up arthritis as the enemy.

Symptoms to be aware of:

Arthritis can come at you from many angles. Common symptoms to look out for include pain and stiffness in joints along with swelling, redness, and tenderness. Because many forms of arthritis are rheumatic diseases, arthritis can also cause symptoms in parts of the body other than joints. Such symptoms can include fevers, involuntary weight loss, fatigue, malaise, and swelling of glands. In some cases arthritis can also affect various organs including your heart, lungs, and kidneys.

Arthritis in some cases can be severe enough to affect your ability to work. As a result, under certain conditions the Social Security Administration recognizes arthritis as a qualifying condition for Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) benefits.

And the good news?

The good news is that you don’t have to let symptoms of arthritis get you down or keep you down. There are proven ways to cope with arthritis, and even ways to reduce its negative effects.

ProHealth.com suggests a positive attitude can help you cope with effects of arthritis. At the top of ProHealth’s list of Ten Easy Tips to Cope with Arthritis Pain is the recommendation to “build your life around wellness, not pain or sickness.” This isn’t always easy to do with arthritis pain in the picture, but ProHealth stresses the importance of “thinking positive thoughts, having a sense of humor, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, surrounding yourself with positive people and enjoying activities with friends and family.”

ProHealth goes so far as to suggest that a positive outlook not only helps you cope, but can actually help reduce the pain of arthritis. It may not always be easy to think positive thoughts when arthritis pain strikes, but that’s precisely what ProHealth advises in its recommendation to “focus on something else. The amount of time you spend thinking about pain has a lot to do with how much discomfort you feel. People who dwell on their pain usually say their pain is worse than those who don’t dwell on it.

Staying positive and not overreacting to arthritis pain can help reduce stress—and that’s another key aspect of keeping symptoms of arthritis in check, because stress is widely recognized as a trigger or aggravator of rheumatoid arthritis attacks.

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