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Narrator: People with rheumatoid arthritis are living longer, functioning better and have less need for joint surgery.
Virginia Wimmer: Yeah, at first it's very scary. You are kind of in shock and you're walking around. It's funny because you're also in a lot of pain usually when you get diagnosed. Because usually it's a really bad time when you first get diagnosed. So some of it is just anything, at least I know what it is. So you have relief along with your fear. It isn't just anything, it's this thing. So that actually helps you focus away from your mind making up all the other horrible things that it might be. Now you know what it is. Now you can research what it is. Now you have somebody to talk to about what it is. You have some options about how to make it better. It does take a while to get better, though. So you have to really learn to trust your doctor and your friends who know things about it so that you can get through the six, eight, 12 weeks for anything to get better. You slowly start to get better, and then you can change what you're doing.
Narrator: What helps with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may be different for each person.
Virginia Wimmer: I had to slow everything down. The super mom thing. You know, you get up and you're making all this stuff, and you go to work and coming back and checking the food and moving things around. And you don't think about yourself all day at all. Then you finally figure out you're exhausted at night. That's kind of how the normal super mom works. Well, you can't do that. Your body will shut you down somewhere if you do that. You have to break those things up into what's really going on and give your body room all day long. You have to give it room in the morning to make sure that you can start it up because a lot of times you can be stiff in the morning. If you try to rush around before those joints get to move around, you can end up with some real pain by the end of the day. So you have to have time. So all those things that people tell you you're supposed to do, you actually have to do them.
You see the joint capsule has a lining of tissue called the synovium. The synovium makes fluid that keeps joints lubricated. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system sends antibodies to the synovium and causes inflammation. This causes pain and joint damage, especially in small joints in the fingers and wrists. But it can affect any joint.
Narrator: Living with rheumatoid arthritis is challenging. It does change your life. But it is possible to live a full and productive life.
Virginia Wimmer: If I can manage it, I should be just fine like everybody else. For as long as anybody else would be. The number one thing is that it is manageable. You can get to the point where you are doing the things that you love. That is the goal. The goal is not just to be able to get out of bed. You might think that at first when you can't even do that. But you can actually get back to doing the things you love, and you really have to focus on that.
Change the way you clean to make household jobs easier on your joints.
Take steps to ease pain and improve mobility when you have rheumatoid arthritis.
Make yardwork and gardening easier with some simple changes.
Consider these questions as you decide on work that's right for you.
Use these tips to reduce morning stiffness and pain.
Try these strategies to ease discomfort when you're at the supermarket.
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