It can be completely unnerving to have nothing wrong with you one day and severe pain the next day. Since pain is a somewhat common symptom associated with many different conditions, it is hard to know initially what to do or how to react to the sudden change. Not every type of arthritis develops suddenly, but that sense of confusion that builds when you accept that it's not going to go away can sometimes lead you down the wrong path.
No matter what type of arthritis you have, early diagnosis and early treatment can help prevent joint damage and disability. There are many approaches to treating arthritis, both conventional and alternative. There are myriad books written on the subject. The Internet provides even more information about arthritis. It can almost be considered too much information, because a person experiencing the initial onset of arthritis symptoms often doesn't know where to begin. Should you pick up a book about osteoarthritis and learn all about it? Maybe you should choose the book about rheumatoid arthritis? Perhaps it's sufficient to self-treat with over-the-counter arthritis medications? How do you know you are making the right decisions?
Choosing the right starting point can impact the course of your disease. It's imperative to be evaluated by a rheumatologist, a specialist in diagnosing and treating arthritis and related conditions. Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting proper treatment and managing the disease.
We know for sure that it is important for you to be a partner in your own health care and actively participate in the decision-making process. In this book, we offer basic information about the most common types of arthritis. We guide you through the diagnostic process and make sure you know what to expect from your doctor or rheumatologist. We advise you about the questions you should be asking.
There is also an extensive section on treatment options and information about the benefits and risks associated with arthritis treatments. Throughout the book, there is practical advice that will help you cope with the physical, emotional, and financial impact of living with arthritis. There is important information that sorts out the myths and misconceptions about arthritis from the facts you need to know. You'll also take a peek at the future and consider how arthritis research is helping you today and how it will help you in the years ahead. We also let you know how you can become an advocate for arthritis research.
Chronic arthritis affects every aspect of daily living. This practical guide will show you how to live better with arthritis. The day you are diagnosed with arthritis is the first day of your new reality. Your new reality can overwhelm you, or you can choose to face it with courage and perseverance. Your willingness to accept your new reality and adjust and adapt to it, as well as your ability to cope and an unwillingness to give up, are all factors that will influence how well you live with arthritis.
The intent of this book is to help you learn about the disease, teach you to be your own advocate, help you make better decisions, and inspire you to realize that there is still a high quality of life after an arthritis diagnosis. The first step: Understanding that change is inevitable.