Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, tenderness, and swelling. But there is another symptom that needs to be addressed: chronic fatigue. It is prevalent among most RA patients as they reportedly have some fatigue, and at least one in six has severe fatigue. This extreme exhaustion is caused by antibodies that attack your central nervous system, causing high inflammation levels.
If you have RA, fatigue may significantly impact your overall quality of life. According to Yousaf Ali, MBBS, the chief of the division of rheumatology at Mount Sinai West Hospital, It is a systemic type of exhaustion, meaning it affects your whole system instead of just a certain body part.”
The good news is there is something you can do to manage fatigue. Here are some strategies to feel energized and recharged despite your health condition:
Stick to a regular exercise routine
Fatigue caused by RA makes it hard for you to get moving, and it can worsen if you have a sedentary lifestyle. The best way to beat fatigue and feel energized is to exercise. Consider starting with low-impact activities, like walking, swimming, and stationary cycling.
You can squeeze in some exercise in your busy schedule by using your lunch break to get in some type of movement. If you are too busy to go for a walk, you may opt for a short stretch break instead. You just need to do simple exercises, like bending and straightening your joints, knees, fingers, toes, and ankles. These several minutes of physical activity can make a big difference in your energy levels.
Load up on healthy food
It’s no secret that healthy eating and nutrition are vital to feeling energized. Thus, load up on nutritious foods to ensure that your body is nourished with the proper nutrients and vitamins it needs. Focus on eating whole grains, legumes, spinach, tomatoes, and dark berries to naturally fight inflammation, increase your energy levels, and aid you in maintaining an ideal weight. Don’t forget to include some lean protein and healthy fat in every plate and drink lots of water.
Schedule naps into your day, if you can
Fatigue is different for every RA patient. Some days you may feel like you have enough energy to conquer the world, while other days, you may wake up and you can’t get out of bed. If your schedule allows you to, lie down even for a few minutes and take short naps whenever you feel exhausted.
Sometimes you just badly need to have a quick rest, and several minutes of sleep can be a lifesaver. Aside from naturally refueling your body, daytime naps can help reduce your stress, uplift your mood, increase your alertness, and boost your memory. However, keep in mind to limit your naps to 10-20 minutes. Avoid sleeping for too long to avoid feeling groggy or making your fatigue worse.
RA can make you more prone to experiencing chronic fatigue. The solution is to acknowledge that fatigue exists and look for ways to manage it. You can cope with it and boost your energy by following the suggestions listed above. To learn more about how to deal with your condition, stay well-informed by reading healthcare news regularly.
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