Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that can occur at any age, but the chances of developing it is higher in older adults, specifically those 60 years and older.
What is RA?
When someone has RA, the tissue lining the joints in the body become thickened. This results in swelling and pain. Over time, the cartilage can become damaged.
- joint pain – commonly in the fingers, knees and wrist
- stiffness in joints
Early detection and treatment is key to RA. Joint damage is unfortunately irreversible once it has taken place. Other than feeling the symptoms associated with RA, doctors can diagnose RA by:
- looking at medical history
- examining the physical joints
- requesting bloodwork to test for any biomarkers
- doing a PET or CT scans
With the help of your doctor, they’ll find the best treatment option for you. Some include:
- steroids, specifically prednisone, that reduce inflammation and will help with pain
- Immunosuppressant drugs that can help reduce the activity in the immune system
Besides medication, here is a list of things you can do to help manage symptoms of RA:
- stay active – stretching and exercising are crucial. Trying to move with stiff joints can be difficult. Ask your doctor what exercises they would suggest to help you manage RA.
- rest the joints – just like exercising is important to manage joint pain, so is resting. This allows time for the joints to recover.
- stop smoking – need another benefit to quit smoking? According to the CDC, tobacco smoke makes RA worse.
- maintain weight – having excess body weight can put additional pressure on the joints.
- adjust the home temperature – weather can affect RA symptoms. If you notice that when it’s more humid out your joints are stiff, or if they’re more in stiff in the winter, you should adjust the thermostat in your home to match what works best for your RA.
- consider home mobility equipment – we offer a wide range of mobility equipment to keep joint pain at bay. Are your knees sore from bending when walking up the stairs? We have stair lifts you can install into your home to help make climbing the stairs easier and more comfortably. Other mobility equipment that benefit you and joint pain are:
- lift chairs: similar to bending knees to walk up the stairs, if you find its hard to get in an out of a seated position due to joint pain, a lift chair is a good option for you. Our lift chairs are built with a mechanism that will help stand you up or sit down with a simple click of a button (which is soft on your finger joints). Less bending than a traditional seat, which can really help out the pressure in your knees. Take a look at what lift chairs we offer here.
- vertical platform lifts: also known as wheelchair lifts. If you are someone who is wheelchair-bound and need assistance accessing your home and cannot climb the stairs, or have issues transferring from wheelchair to cane, a vertical platform lift is the solution for you. Our platform lifts are designed to carry you and your wheelchair up or down a flight of stairs — leaving you to not worry about the pain and hassle of getting in and out of a wheelchair. More info on our vertical platform lifts can be found here.
- mobility scooters: these are a great tool to move around your house and beyond without the pain and unsteadiness associated with using a cane. We offer many different types, so check them out here.