Isn't rheumatoid arthritis for older people? That's the question from a 30-year-old woman who is recently diagnosed and new to the WebMD Rheumatoid Arthritis Community. And it drew many responses from others -- among them, people who were diagnosed with RA at the ages of 28, 29, and 26. Not surprisingly, many members of the community are working women with children, and some are coping with fibromyalgia or other chronic illnesses as well as RA.
The responses also involved treatment issues. One woman said she has two young children and is in constant pain. How long does it take to figure out the right combination of medicines for the pain, she asked? No one could answer that -- it's different for everyone, people noted -- but you can find the right combination to make RA manageable. A woman who has had RA for 33 years said that when her RA did go into remission for eight years, she could go cross-country skiing again!
Members of the community also offered these coping tips:
- Know that there will be good days and bad days, and try to make the best of both.
- Keep working with your doctor, and read all you can about RA.
- Listen to your body. Rest when you need it.
- Do exercises that you feel you can do.
- Let your children and family members help you when they offer. It can end up turning into a special time together for everyone.
- Pamper yourself for at least five minutes a day. Take a warm bath and listen to soft music, get a massage -- whatever relaxes you. It can give you the strength to keep going.
One member of the community said that having a place to talk to others who know exactly how you feel also helps a lot. "What gives me the most comfort is that I know I can come here and get inspiration, encouragement, and support," she said.