Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and painful condition that can significantly impact relationships and communication strategies, both between the patient and their partner and between the patient and healthcare professionals. It is important to be aware of the effects that RA can have on relationships, communication strategies, and health in order to ensure that patients are supported throughout their journey with this condition.
Impact of RA on Relationships
Due to the physical nature of RA, it can have a major effect on relationships, both those between the patient and their partner, as well as other individuals. Variables such as pain, fatigue, and a decrease in the ability to engage in physical activities can all lead to decreased intimacy within relationships. This can lead to increased stress, interpersonal conflict, and difficulties with communication. Furthermore, it is important that the partner of someone with RA takes the time to become an active participant in managing their partner’s condition with them, including attending medical appointments, providing support and understanding, and participating in decision-making.
In order to ensure that the patient is receiving the best care and support possible, they should ensure they are actively communicating with their healthcare team. This includes making sure they clarify any information they have been given, discuss any potential side effects of drugs, provide feedback and ask questions to their healthcare team, and report any signs or symptoms. Additionally, patients should let their healthcare team know of any other physical or psychological issues that are either causing or complicating their RA.
Impact on Health
The impact of RA on physical health can be significant, with symptoms ranging from joint inflammation and stiffness to fatigue and poor sleep. Pain can also be an issue, impacting an individual’s ability to carry out physical activities, impacting the quality and duration of sleep, and impacting the ability to perform routine daily activities.
It is also important to be aware of the psychological effects of having RA, such as depression and anxiety. This can be largely mitigated by educating oneself on the condition, developing a positive attitude towards the condition, and seeking out support from family, friends, and healthcare workers.
Rheumatoid arthritis can significantly impact relationships, communication strategies, and health. The physical and psychological toll of RA can cause a decrease in intimacy between a patient and their partner, as well as difficulty communicating and understanding the condition. It is important for patient’s to be aware of these impacts, and to actively communicate and engage with their healthcare team to ensure they are receiving the best support and care possible, as well as educating oneself on the condition and developing a positive attitude towards it.