Living With

Health Resources To Cope With RA

Leslie Rott Mar 27th, 2015 (updated Jan 5th, 2017)
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rheumatoid arthritis handsWhen managing rheumatoid arthritis, you may, at times, benefit from the help of other health-related professionals -- aside from your medical team. Here are some resources to look into with your family members and/or caregivers.

 

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Financial assistance
Financial assistance

If you're having difficulty paying your medical expenses, you can find help. If you see doctors who are part of a hospital, the hospital might have a payment plan or an application for financial assistance. You may also qualify for financial assistance for medication. Some pharmaceutical companies have co-pay discount cards.

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Laboratory tests
Laboratory tests

When you live with RA, you tend to have a lot of blood work. It can help to get to know the people who draw your blood. If you are a hard stick like me, it helps to have someone who knows your veins.  It can be less nerve-wracking if you can have a friendly conversation while getting your blood drawn. If you are afraid of needles, it can also be easier to talk about it to someone you know.

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Mental health
Mental health

You may see a therapist, who you can talk to about issues related to coping with RA.  If you end up with a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, for example, you may see a psychiatrist, who can prescribe medication for you.  Stress and other emotional disturbances can cause your RA to flare, so it is essential that you keep these to a minimum as much as possible.

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Nutritionist
Nutritionist

Some medications cause weight gain, and one way to decrease stress on joints is to lose weight. If you're having issues with weight control, a nutritionist can help you plan healthier meals. On the other hand, some might with RA need to gain weight because they experience pain, medication side effects, or arthritis symptoms that impact eating. A nutritionist also can help you gain weight in a healthy way.

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Pharmacy
Pharmacy

Most people with RA take a variety of medications. One of your best friends could -- and should -- be your pharmacist. Pharmacists can help make sure none of your medications -- prescription or OTC -- interact with each other. They can advocate for you if there are issues with your insurance, and communicate with your doctor should the need arise.

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Physical/occupational therapist
Physical/occupational therapist

If you’ve had surgery as a result of your RA, you may need physical therapy afterwards to improve mobility and ensure the surgery site heals properly. Physical therapy can also be helpful if you have an injury, whether it is related to your RA or not. A physical therapist can help you improve your mobility in general. If you need help to function better at home or at work, ask for a referral to an occupational therapist.

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Radiology
Radiology

People with RA can need frequent X-rays to assess the amount of joint damage that may have developed.  You might spend a fair amount of time with radiologists and radiology technicians, which is done separately from doctor visits.