If you’ve recently been diagnosed with arthritis, you are not alone. The CDC estimates that nearly 60 million Americans have one or more forms of doctor-diagnosed arthritis. But effective treatments are available.
President and CEO, Arthritis Foundation
The first step to taking control after diagnosis is to understand your arthritis. With over 100 different types, including autoimmune diseases, and affecting all ages, from infants to seniors, symptoms and treatments vary. An effective treatment plan starts with a productive relationship with your doctor. Discuss what matters to you. Do you want to keep doing a favorite hobby or activity? Do you need aggressive treatment to prevent further damage? Defining what’s important is key to your treatment plan.
It may take trial and error to find what medication works for you. Some are expensive. Make sure your insurance plan will cover the drugs you need, and advocate for yourself.
Besides sticking to your medications, eat healthfully, lose excess weight, and stay physically active, all of which have proven benefits. If you smoke, try to quit; it worsens arthritis and makes medications less effective.
Learn as much as you can about your arthritis and your medications and how they may affect you. Take a list of questions to doctor appointments to get the information you need.
Consider joining a support group to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Others can share their experiences and solutions and provide emotional support, too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find information and resources at arthritis.org, and get answers about insurance, arthritis treatments, and more by calling our helpline at (800) 283-7800 or filling out this form.
You’re not alone on your arthritis journey, and help is available.