Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

I am pleased to present you an interesting perspective of the day in the life of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis that can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, tenderness, and deformity of many joints of the body. For patients with this illness, each day's activities can present many challenges. Notice how this patient's record illustrates that the simplest of activities, which we often take for granted, can pose a significant obstacle for a patient with rheumatoid arthritis.

William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR -- Medical Editor, MedicineNet

I'm a wife and mother with RA...

Mrs. K.D. is a 43-year-old wife and mother of two children and suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis. This is her story...

I have rheumatoid arthritis and would like to share with you the details of what a typical day is like for me from start to finish. This entry is not about my disease itself or its treatment but about the way it affects what I do throughout my day. I hope that by describing the details of what my day is like people will be more enlightened as to some of the experiences people with rheumatoid arthritis must endure regularly. I also hope that sharing these experiences will make it easier for acquaintances, friends, and family members to interact with those who suffer from this disease.

By way of background, I am a 43-year-old wife and mother of two grade-schoolers and have had severe rheumatoid arthritis now for nearly 10 years. My husband is understanding and supportive. My disease has caused deformity of my hands and feet. My fingers are recognizably gnarled and have bumps, called nodules. My wrists have nearly fused so that I can move them very little. My toes have cocked up and I have calluses under the pads at the bottoms of my feet. My knees are chronically slightly swollen, as are many of the small joints of my knuckles.

Things that most people take for granted, for example sleeping, bathing, brushing one's teeth, getting dressed, making meals, and even driving a car, are extremely challenging for me.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/20/2017

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