autoimmune disease symptoms

You’ve Been Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis—Now What?

Trust me, I’ve been here. When you first get diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), it’ll feel like the end of the world. But first things first, don’t get all hysterical and think that your life is over.

It is what it is

When I was first diagnosed with Juvenile RA, I was 16. At that time, my parents didn’t have a clue what a diagnosis like that meant, so they took me to get another opinion. But, as you can expect, the blood test result was accurate. It is what it is!

At the time, I was given Celebrex, and the drug worked wonders. Yet, after a month or so, it was like I had amnesia. I forgot I had RA, I wasn’t taking my medication, and I found out that my RA had gone into remission at a doctor’s appointment.

You’ll learn what works for you

While you may not enter RA remission at the same time or at the same pace as everyone else, you’ll learn to keep it at bay. You’ll learn what works for you. Sometimes, like with me, it happens fast. RA is an autoimmune disorder. Your body’s immune system is turning on itself, creating antibodies to its own cells, and attacking its joints and other tissues throughout the body. Thus, it’s imperative to tackle it head-on and have your rheumatologist treat you. Your rheumatologist will find the treatment that’s right for you. Make sure you find someone you feel comfortable with.  

Don’t solely go the natural route

As empowered as you should feel to take control of your RA treatment, please do not fall into the belief that you can heal yourself naturally. When I first came out of remission, I attempted natural healing. I took supplements instead of my medication, and it was a terrible idea. The RA was aggressive, and I saw that my fingers were slightly deformed, and the pain was intense. Feel free to use natural supplements, but stay on your medication. I’m speaking from experience—check out the picture below.

This can all be prevented by taking your medication because it’ll slow down progression. I had to stop retaking my medication for a year because I wanted to get pregnant. During that time, I knew there would be some risk but not to the extent I’ve experienced. It was severe and aggressive, and I experienced a drastic change within that one year.

Final thoughts

Early, aggressive treatment can help you manage RA. Just because you’ve received this diagnosis doesn’t mean that you’re going to experience every adverse side effect. It doesn’t mean everything is hopeless. Just be mindful and take care of yourself.

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