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An_245845 posted:
It sucks being 22 and having RA. No one believes me and says to suck it up, I'm young I should be able to do these things. I had to quit running and tone down my active lifestyle A LOT. I found out I have RA a few weeks ago. Is it worth it to push through the pain and LIVE my life before it gets so bad that I can't? Or rest my body and take it easy? Any tips would be helpful.
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stillwalkin responded:
Speaking from my experience, yup, it sucks having arthritis in your early 20's, but life is worth living, not just surviving. Yes, many folks have difficulty believing that young people have arthritis (don't hang with people like that). Yes, learn to live with some pain, but don't trash yourself. Rest only gets you so far and does not reduce pain in the long run. neither does pain medicine. you MUST get treatment from a GOOD rheumatologist. There are more medicines now available but it takes time to find what is right for YOU. If you get the disease symptoms under control, life gets much better. I have been diagnosed with arthritis for over 20 years (had it longer). I am still working in an extremely physical job, despite joint surgeries and other complications. Still living not just surviving.
 
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An_245367 responded:
Hi An_245845, I know how you feel, I was diagnosed last year just a few weeks after I turned 25. I was training for a triathlon when my symptoms started and I thought I was suffering from over training, until I started swelling from head to toe. I went from no real symptoms to home bound in about 4 weeks. I couldn't believe what was going on. I don't know how long your symptoms have been going on for but my best advice is to be patient, it gets better! When I was first diagnosed I was able to meet with a young woman who had been diagnosed in her late teens and I asked her the same question you are asking "should I just suck it up and push through the pain and do what I want?" And she told me no, let your body rest. And she was right. Right now, your body is freaking out, give it some time to get on medications and for them to start working. I'm on a drug called Plaquenil and it's the slowest working DMARD used for RA so I was also on prednisone for several months (5 months on prednisone, took a full 7 before I felt 95% back) but I got there in the end. I've had a few small flares since last November, mostly in my shoulders, and I've learned to just take it easy when they're acting up. I don't swim when my shoulders are angry but I can bike or do an elliptical on those days. I personally hate running so I gave that up initially but I'm starting to get the itch to train for that triathlon again. I know I'm not the typical RA patient but I want to let you know that there are a few of us out there! There are good drugs out there now that can keep you active. Find a doctor who listens to you, who is willing to help you achieve your goals, but try to be patient and know that the next few months will be hard and that's okay. Take it a day at a time, do things when you can but rest on the days your body forces you to. Hot baths are a life saver in the morning for the stiffness. Heating pads are great too. Hang in there and I hope you start feeling better soon!
 
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SureHope responded:
Hey I'm right there with you...I'm not much older than you but I'll give you what little words of wisdom I have. I'm 25 and was recently diagnosed myself.

I hear "suck it up" on a daily basis from my family. I often battle within myself saying "I'm young I should be able to do these things" too.

Now, I wasn't nearly as active as you have probably been all your life. My parent's theory is if I had listened to them all my life and been more active, that I wouldn't be in this situation. Obviously no matter how active you are, RA can attack and leave you feeling awful about yourself.

I don't get a lot of support from my family. I know they love me deeply and want to do something, but maybe they just don't know what it is...I don't know. But their love for me is strong and is always there!!

But over the past few weeks, I have been doing so much research, that I have found a new strength in myself that I didn't know was there before. You can find a similar strength too. You're an athlete so I'm sure you have a lot of strength already!

This is what I found out in my research. Yes rest is good and getting the right amount is important, but that doesn't mean you can't be active. Just that you may have to re-adjust how active you are. You may have a "new normal" and may have to change how you view you and your limitations. You can still LIVE your life, but I'm sorry to tell you it's probably not going to be what you had in mind for yourself.

You're whole life is in the process of a great change, and from experience, I know I hate change and generally everybody does. As long as you're willing to accept that change and are ready, living with RA can be managed and you can do anything you want to do!

I have found some things you can change in your diet to help with inflammation, krill oil helps a lot and unlike fish oil doesn't have a horrible after taste, range of motion exercises and anything low impact...(running may not be the best thing...). I have tons of links and information saved so I can share anything I have found with you.

Let me know if you want to know something specific and I'll post links here for you!

~Surehope

DON'T GIVE UP HOPE!! Life's not over, it will just have to be a little different from now on.
 
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Cambo_0 responded:
Any one have tips for fatigue? I just feel like sleeping all the time!
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to Cambo_0's response:
Hi Cambo,

While you're waiting for responses here, take a look near the top of the board for a tip from our expert, Dr. Zashin, on dealing with fatigue. And you'll find many more if you click on our 'Tips' via the left sidebar.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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paisley1993 responded:
Please do not try to push through the pain. I'm nineteen and a former runner. After being on medication for four months I tried to start running again. I pushed myself way too hard and developed a mixture of RA flareups and tendonitis in my ankles. Now I can't be on my feet for more than a three hours at a time without significant swelling in my ankles. I had to quit my job because walking around for seven hours straight made it impossible for me to walk the next day. You should look into seeing a physical therapist. They will give you exercises to strengthen areas of your body to avoid harm to your knees and ankles from running. Believe me, I know how much it sucks being so young with RA. There is so much I'm unable to do now because of this, but you've got to work with it. Take it easy for a while, build up strength with a pt, and don't overdo it. Keep yourself safe.
All the best
 
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Cambo_0 replied to paisley1993's response:
Thanks, lately I've been trying to build muscle in my arms to take the strain off my wrists and hands, and build my leg muscles to take the strain off my knees. Everyday is different for me somedays are good some days are bad I never know till I wake up. So on good days I workout but try not to push it.


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