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    No doubt about it: Rheumatoid arthritis can make you feel tired. Your best solution is to get savvy about how to handle that fatigue so you can keep doing what matters most to you.

    Sometimes, you need to take a break. But in other cases, it would help to move more, not less.

    When you're exhausted, you won’t want to exercise. But if you worked out anyway, you might feel more energetic. Studies show that aerobic activity (which makes your heart beat faster) can cut fatigue in people who have an immune system disorder like rheumatoid arthritis.

    It also strengthens the muscles around your joints, keeps your bones strong, and improves your mood.

    Start with a few minutes of brisk walking. Gradually work up to 30 minutes at least 5 times a week. Swimming or pool exercises are also good options, because the water is easy on your joints.

    The Best Way to Rest

    Don’t stay in bed. It might make you feel more tired.

    Instead, take regular rest breaks throughout the day. Find times that fit in with your life. Are you more productive in the morning? Then schedule some rest at noon. Do you need to regain energy before the kids get home from school? Then take a nap shortly before they get home. Two or three short rest breaks may give you the energy you need.

    Check Your Diet

    Little changes can make a big difference. Eat small, healthy meals throughout the day, so you don’t feel sluggish because you have low blood sugar.

    Go for foods and snacks that include lean protein and whole grains, vegetables, or fruit. Try an apple with peanut butter, or some tuna on whole-grain bread.

    Is your idea of breakfast a cup of coffee? Add a hard-boiled egg, a cup of yogurt, or a banana to your morning.

    Tell Your Doctor

    If you’ve tried everything and still feel wiped out, let your doctor know. He can see what the problem is.

    It could be that you have anemia, which can cause fatigue. With anemia, your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. As a result, you feel tired.

    Anemia can develop from the chronic inflammation of RA or as a side effect of your medications. Your doctor can check to see if you have it and get you started on treatment.

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    RA Checklist Challenge

    Want to take better care of yourself? See how many things you can check off the list in the next 30 days!

    I ordered salmon instead of a burger when I went out to eat today.

    I took a walk 5 days this week.

    I didn't let my RA stop me from having fun today.

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    You Are Not Alone

    • 1.3 million Americans are living with RA.
    • 75% of people with RA are women.
    • 3 in 5 people with RA try to stay active.
    • 91% of people with RA are able to keep working.
    • 3 in 5 patients are satisfied with their doctors.
    • 80% say they hope for new, innovative treatments.
    • 75% want to feel better in 3 months of treatment.
    • 80% want treatment to resume full social lives.
    • 2 out of 3 say friends don't understand their RA.
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