Rheumatologic conditions encompass a broad category of inflammatory diseases that can affect the skin, joints, muscles and internal organs. They are usually autoimmune in nature, which means your body is fighting itself. Some of the most common rheumatologic conditions include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and connective tissue disease.
Regardless of your specific condition, there are steps you can take to reduce its impact on your life. Your doctor will select a treatment plan that is individualized and may include medication or specific therapy techniques and exercises.
Lifestyle changes can make a big difference and include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, managing stress, minimizing sun exposure and taking supplements such as vitamin C or calcium. Exercise is very important and will likely make you feel better overall. Discuss your lifestyle with your doctor before making any significant changes. Finally, it is important to listen to your body. If you notice excessive or unexplained fatigue, pain, stiffness and especially joint swelling that lasts for more than six weeks, it is time to see your doctor.
Some of these changes are easy to accomplish while others are more challenging and may take effort over time. Work closely with your doctor and ask questions about your medications and lifestyle. With some effort, you can manage your rheumatologic condition.