dream when you were first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But after starting treatment, you've hopefully learned that remission — or at least low disease activity — is possible. In fact, it's likely the goal of a detailed treatment plan you worked with your doctor to create.
Treating your RA aggressively to prevent as much additional joint damage as you can sounds simple, right? But that doesn't mean it's easy to achieve. Getting there will require some in-depth work on your part. Lifestyle changes, like eating healthier, can boost your overall well-being. And moving more — even if it's the last thing you feel like doing — may help ease your stiff and achy joints.
Perhaps most important, you also have to stick with your treatment plan and keep open lines of communication about your experience with your health care team. Let them know if it feels like your medications aren't working. Some require longer to take effect than others. Talk to your doctor about side effects that you just can't live with. They may be able to switch you to another treatment that might do a better job of controlling your disease activity and getting you closer to remission.
Here's a look at the joint damage that can come with RA, and why taking steps to get the disease under control as soon as you can is key.