Managing Your Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Tracking Your Disease Could Help

doctor checking the patients' hands

When you are diligently doing your part to manage your rheumatoid arthritis or RA, it could be very frustrating to still experience flare-ups from time to time. That’s why monitoring your daily habits, from your symptoms to your medications, is highly important.

Doing so would help you and your doctor determine vital aspects of your everyday routine that might be hurting or helping your condition, advises a rheumatoid arthritis care specialist in Las Vegas. Monitoring your condition could likewise help you gain more control over your RA. Researchers even found that using apps or even plain old pen and paper could positively affect your RA management plans.

For starters, you need to discuss with your doctor the most efficient way to monitor your daily routine. Once you’ve determined the best way to track your condition, be sure to include the following in your RA journal:

Your Specific Symptoms

Be sure to list the symptoms you experience, including fatigue, joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. You must also note how your pain feels, whether it’s shooting, aching, sharp, tight, similar to muscle spasms, or throbbing. Don’t forget to indicate the intensity of your pain. For this, use the 0 to 10 scale, 0 being negligible and 10 being immensely painful.

Your Medications

This should include all prescription and OTC meds, current dosage, and times you take them.

Your Eating Habits

List down everything you eat, mealtimes, portion sizes, and which foods seem to trigger or help your symptoms.

Your Physical Activity

Other than making the muscles surrounding your joints stronger, working out regularly could also help you shed excess weight that might be contributing to your RA. Note the exercises you do and which ones give you relief or hurt your joints more. the intensity, and how long each exercise session takes.

Your Emotional and Mental Health

Be specific when writing down your feelings so that you could address them properly. Studies have shown that anxiety or depression could worsen your symptoms.

Your Triggers

This usually includes stress, cigarettes, alcohol, and lack of sleep.

When you meticulously monitor your RA, you and your doctor would be able to discover triggers, prevent flare-ups, and modify your treatment to suit your condition. In case you could no longer do certain things that used to be easy for you, such as cleaning your home or driving, inform your doctor right away.