There’s so much information out there, 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.

World Arthritis Day 2017

Join us today as we raise awareness for Rheumatoid Arthritis, the importance of early diagnosis, and timely access to evidence-based treatment. We have a specific program for RA, here at Pack Health. Our Health Advisors have the training and capacity to help you set and reach your goals. We’ve been working with individuals with RA for about two years now!

Here are a couple interesting facts:

  • On average, 84% of members with RA have achieved their goals
  • On average, we’ve reduced flares by 50%

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, and we’ve got a few posts to help get you started. Check out our meal specific posts that highlight anti-inflammatory breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, as well as a few other foods that fight inflammation to add to your diet!

A blog post titled Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis, written by Floranne Ernste, MD was published on Spine University and highlights the effect of an anti-inflammatory diet on our bodies, especially during symptoms of RA. Check it out!

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 is 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.

Check out our post on hobbies and self-care!

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.

We recently published a post on how yoga sequences can help alleviate symptoms of pain, while also helping to center our minds.

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