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5 Things People With RA Want You to Know

2. “It’s not ‘just’ arthritis.” continued...

“The truth is, living with RA means you will most likely be on a variety of medications for the rest of your life,” she says. “You may need multiple surgeries or joint replacements, too.”

A lot of misunderstandings happen when people don’t know the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is typically caused by wear and tear. It's more common as people get older. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can set in at any time in a person’s life.

“I’ve had so many people say, 'Oh, arthritis? Getting older sucks, doesn’t it?'” Chamorro says. “That’s really irksome.”

3. “A nap isn’t going to make me feel less tired.”

“Tired doesn’t begin to describe how I feel if I’m having a bad day or bad week,” says Barbara Searles, author of Kick Pain in the Kitchen. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 5 years ago.

Chronic fatigue affects 89% of people who have the condition, and it can sap their strength, Rosian says. She tells her patients with RA to be realistic about how active they can be when fatigue sets in. She also suggests they share how they're feeling with their friends and family members.

“You can say, 'When I say I’m having a bad day, it’s like having the flu and a fever of 102. I may seem fine, but I am really struggling,'” Rosian says.

But if you have RA and you’re constantly exhausted, it can be a sign that your treatment isn’t working, and you should see your rheumatologist right away, she says.

4. “A pill or diet won’t cure me.”

“After I was first diagnosed, people would come up to me and say things like, 'You should go gluten-free!' or ‘You should try krill oil,’ like that would fix everything,” Searles says.

In reality, “cutting out gluten and most processed foods has eased my symptoms, but RA is a genetic disease. No lifestyle change will ever make it just go away,” she says.

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