Rheumatoid arthritis(RA) is a painful autoimmune disorder that affects the lining the of the joints. It causes painful swelling that can trigger joint stiffness, deformities, and bone erosion. Unfortunately, the effects of RA aren’t just limited to joints, as it can damage the eyes, skin, lungs, heart, and other parts of the body as well. So, what effect does an RA diagnosis have on daily life?

1. Getting out of bed in the morning

It can be tough to get going some mornings, especially on a cold winter’s day. I notice the stiffness in my joints the most in the morning, so I really have to take my time and stretch things out. I typically sleep with a heated blanket or heating pad because the warmth seems to soothe the aches and pains in my joints.

2. What independence?

Tasks like opening a jar or a bottle of nail polish are now foreign to me. I have to constantly think ahead. If I am planning to make a meal, I have to be sure that I will have access to all the necessary ingredients. My garden has turned into weeds and my once beloved painting hobby is no more. I have learned that I must rely on other people in order to accomplish certain tasks

 3. You’re wearing…that?

I used to pride myself on my fashion sense. I owned too many pairs of expensive heels to count and shopping was a favorite pastime. Now, it’s whatever is easiest. If the pants have a button closure? Forget it. For my shoes? My toes seemed to have grown in a direction all their own, and my shoe size may as well have doubled!

4. A social life

The fatigue associated with RA can be brutal. While I may have every intention of attending the dinner or the birthday party at the beginning of the day, by the end of the day I know I’m headed nowhere but the warmth of my bed. Some friends seem to be understanding and others don’t seem to get it. Just because I may “look” fine doesn’t mean I’m not feeling awful on the inside.

While RA is certainly a life-changer, it doesn’t affect your ability to love, laugh, or simply be happy. Accepting your diagnosis and facing it head-on will help you to manage the disease and find new ways of coping with challenges.

If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, studies are enrolling now. Qualified participants have access to potential new RA medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, learn more about this exciting research opportunity by clicking HERE.