There’s so much information out there on the internet, but sometimes we just want someone who’s been through it to give us the “inside scoop” answer to our most pressing questions. A friend who’s been through it, who gets real and opens up about their journey while acknowledging that on some things we may be different. A friend whose stories can help you find strategies that work for you.

We get that, which is why we’re rounding up stories from real people and inviting you to check out more of their stories on their blogs. To start we thought we’d tackle some FAQ. If you have more questions you’d like answered talk to your Health Advisor for personalized tips.

Is there always a relationship between diet and RA symptoms?

While there is research to support the connection between a person’s digestive system and inflammation, the perceived impact of diet on RA symptoms varies from person to person. An anti-inflammatory diet is worth trying – Some people find a strong connection between what they eat and how they feel, while others don’t see much of a connection at all.

Blogger Carla Kienast has a great post in which she admits: I personally, have never been able to link what I eat to how my RA reacts and explores recent research on the topic with a grain of salt.

Our take? One of the most meaningful studies is the study of yourself. Try tracking what you eat and how you feel to figure out how different foods affect you.

Is it possible to be prepared for a flare?

Being prepared means doing things ahead of time to ease the inconvenience and side effects when a flare comes along – and yes, there ARE things you can do.

Blogger and writer for Rheumatoidarthritis.net, Leslie Rott, suggests:

1. If you can, plan meals ahead of time and freeze them, so you will be able to be nourished, but won’t have to have the energy to cook.

2. Rest when you need to. You might have to beg out of social obligations, but hopefully your friends and family will understand.

3. If your flares are characterized by pain, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll have any pain meds on hand that you need. If you have difficulty getting the medication, it might be hard if you extremely fatigued to contact your doctor or make an appointment.

To find out more about what Leslie Rott has to say about RA, click here.

Is RA hereditary? Will I pass it on to my children?

While RA isn’t hereditary, your genetics can increase your chances of developing the disorder.

Blogger and RheumatoidArthritis.net writer Mariah Z. Leach says that part of the problem is that scientists still aren”t exactly sure what causes RA. However, like most human diseases, scientists do think that there is a genetic component to the disease. But a genetic component that influences susceptibility is not the same as a disease being hereditary.

To read Mariah’s blog on living with RA and other chronic illnesses, click here.

Why is self-care such a struggle?

Some of us (maybe even most of us) have a hard time making self-care a priority.

Blogger and RA patient Angela Lundberg says that her failures at self-care are due to lack of time, lack of energy, emotional issues, RA pain, and organizational issues. If healthy eating, exercise, meditation, and other self-care activities feel like a chore, remember that the best self-care activities are those with that are the easiest to incorporate in your day-to-day life.

As Angela puts it,  Even with all of the challenges that constantly get in my way of developing good self-care habits, I really do want to learn how to make self-care an important and consistent part of my life. In order to be consistent about self-care, we recommend starting small.

How can I manage pain with RA?

It’s all about finding what works for you and your body. Different things work to help different people and their RA related pain.

It can take time to find the strategy that works for you. Blogger Angela Lundberg is a good example of this as well: I’ve tried acupuncture several times for extended periods which helped my chronic headaches but didn’t do much for my RA pain and swelling. Meditation? People keep recommending that I do this, which I don’t feel that enthusiastic about, especially when I feel like I have 50 squirrels racing around on wheels in my head. I’m willing to give it a try, but I honestly don’t think it can help that much when you feel like you have several burning knives lodged into your joints.

To find out more about what Angela Lundberg has to say about RA, click here.

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