What is RA Fatigue?
Rheumatoidarthia (RA) causes inflammation of the joints. It can cause joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. Those with RA are aware that severe fatigue can also result from this autoimmune disorder. Over 50% of people suffering from RA experience extreme mental and physical exhaustion.
It can be difficult to complete your daily tasks at work and home due to RA fatigue. It could have a greater impact on your daily activities than the pain of RA.
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What causes RA fatigue?
- There are a number of factors that can contribute to RA fatigue.
- You may feel drained or worn down by the inflammation that causes swelling and joint pain.
- Chronic pain can cause you to become less active or depressed. This may result in fatigue.
- People with RA might have difficulty sleeping at night. This can lead to daytime exhaustion.
- Fighting RA fatigue
- Although RA fatigue can be overwhelming, there are ways to get relief.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be able to reduce fatigue by teaching you how to recognize and correct negative thoughts and behavior. A study found that participants with RA experienced a positive change in their coping skills that lasted for over a year.
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Support groups can be held online or in person. It can be a great way to relieve stress and isolation by sharing your experiences with others. There are two online groups: the RA Symptoms Forum on Facebook and the Rheumatoid arthritis Support Group on Facebook.
Prednisone and methotrexate. Recent research shows that prednisone and methotrexate can be used to treat RA fatigue early and effectively.
Anemia treatment. Anemia can be treated with iron supplements or injections of epoetin, a hormone that increases red cells, to ease fatigue.
Vitamins. Vitamins may be recommended by your doctor to increase your nutrient intake.
Antidepressants. You may be able to increase your energy by taking an antidepressant such as Wellbutrin (Bupropion) or a psychostimulant such as Modafinil (Provigil).
Do not take it personally
Recognize that tiredness can be a sign of RA. This is not weakness. Many people with RA experience fatigue.
This is important because it allows you to recognize the symptoms and make changes. You will be more likely to reduce or eliminate your fatigue if you are realistic about your situation and symptoms.
Revise your schedule
To reduce fatigue, adapt your daily schedule. Your personal needs and your choice about the best time to sleep and rest will determine how you adjust your daily schedule.
You might try starting your day a little later than normal. This will allow you to sleep in, and reduce stiffness due to RA.
Plan a regular afternoon nap. A midday nap can give RA patients more energy to make it through the rest of their day.
Discuss with your doctor how revising your schedule may help you
- Balance activity and rest
Everybody needs to take time to rest. If you have RA, it is even more important. It’s important to remain active.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, too much exercise can lead to fatigue. Light exercise is a good way to keep your joints healthy and prevent muscle deconditioning.
- The snooze factor
- Sleep is a challenge for people with RA. You may feel any of these symptoms:
- Pain makes it difficult to fall asleep.
- You wake up in pain even though you have had enough sleep.
- You wake up often while trying to go to sleep.
Sleeping through the night can cause you to feel sleepier during the day. You might consider taking daytime naps instead of sleeping at night.
People with RA might tire more quickly than people without it. Therefore, they should make smart choices about how they spend their time.
You can save your energy by skipping some physically strenuous activities. This will make it easier for you to take on more important tasks later.
Decide what are your top priorities, and then save that time for when you have the most energy.
It can be difficult to decline certain activities, but being selective can help conserve energy for the things that matter most to you.
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When necessary, delegate
Drawing on the energy of others is a great way to increase your energy. When you are feeling tired, friends and family can help you get more energy.
Asking for help can make things easier. You might consider exchanging errands if it is difficult to reach out for assistance.
You might ask someone to do something for you if you are too tired. Then you can return it when you feel more energetic.