Rheumatoid Arthritis and Stress
How does stress affect rheumatoid arthritis? Is it a contributing factor to the
onset of rheumatoid arthritis? How do you break the vicious cycle of stress causing
rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups which cause more pain which raises stress levels
Studies show that stress is a predisposing factor to the development of rheumatoid
arthritis. While studies in rats show a correlation between a stressful event and
the onset of the arthritis, researchers are hesitant to relate that to humans. The
main reason for that is that different people relate to the same stress differently-for
one person an event might be negatively stressful while for another the same event
might prove to be a challenge spurring them to a positive outcome. These details
are difficult to define and even more difficult to measure.
Many people do trace the onset of their rheumatoid arthritis to a stressful event
in their lives such as a car accident, the death of a family member, loss of job,
or divorce. Stress has a documented affect on sleep patterns, headaches, blood pressure
and other issues of health, but whether it can be connected to the onset of rheumatoid
arthritis cannot be documented.
Regardless of documented cause and effect, reducing or handling stress will improve
overall health which will improve management of rheumatoid arthritis. So how can
you find ways and what are some things you can do to reduce the stress in your life?
To reduce stress learn to laugh and add humor to the situation. Identify the things
that cause you stress. Simply your life, plan and organize for the things that usually
interrupt you causing you stress. Get help to cope with problems or at least find
a support person or group to discuss your stresses and share your feelings.
Accept the things you cannot change and develop a plan for changing the things you
can control. Set up short- and long-term goals so that failing to reach your goals
doesn't cause you more stress.
Study relaxation techniques and purchase relaxing music to play when dealing with
a stressful situation or to relax and recover from the stressful event.
Because steroids are often prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis the body's natural
systems for handling stressful situations may be reduced. Your doctor may prescribe
an increased dose of corticosteroids when a known stressful event is anticipated
to compensate for this problem.
Make every effort to positively handle stressful events and fight the tendency to
become depressed because of the pain and problems of rheumatoid arthritis and you
will see an improvement in your condition and your life.