When diagnosed with a chronic illness or arthritis, knowing where to turn for support can be challenging. But many people are willing to help.
Joining a support network can provide you with valuable insight and a safe place to share your experiences. Here are six reasons to think about joining a group:
You’ll Learn from Others
If you have recently been given a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, it may be challenging to know where to go for support. However, there are other methods to get help.
One way is to join a Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network. These groups provide emotional support and information about research, education, care, and treatment.
Groups can be face-to-face or online. Medical professionals, hospitals, or organizations like the Arthritis Foundation may organize them.
They can also be run by volunteer groups of people who have RA and want to share their experiences with others.
It’s great to ask your doctor or a rheumatologist for recommendations on support groups in your area. They can connect you with groups in your local area or provide online support via chatrooms.
You’ll Make New Friends
RA can be a lonely disease, but you can make new friends by joining a support network. These groups can be in your community or online. They range from a handful of members to thousands.
You may find a group led by a nurse, social worker, or other trained facilitator. They’ll help you explore options that fit your lifestyle and needs and can be a great way to meet other people with the same condition.
A UK study found that much rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients benefited from being involved in a peer support group. They found that they had more confidence in managing their condition after joining. In addition, they reported feeling less isolated and able to discuss their feelings with others.
You’ll Have Someone to Talk to
If you’re living with a chronic illness, it can be hard to talk to friends and family about your feelings. Having someone to listen who can understand your situation can help you feel better about yourself and what you’re going through.
Fortunately, there are many groups where you can find people who understand what it’s like to live with a chronic condition. These groups can range from in-person, peer-led support meetings to online forums and even phone mentoring programs.
One of the best ways to find this support is through your healthcare team. They can often recommend support groups that nurses or other health professionals lead.
Another great place to find support is on Facebook. You can connect with other RA sufferers by joining one of the many groups explicitly created for the disease. Whether you’re looking for a place to share your stories or get advice on new medications, these groups can be an excellent resource.
You’ll Learn More About Your Disease
Getting involved with an online community of people with the same condition can help you learn more about your disease and how to manage it. You can learn about new medications, get tips on diet, and hear from others who have shared their experiences.
Inflammation, swelling, and discomfort in the joints are symptoms of the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. However, it can also happen in other parts of your body. It usually starts in the hands and feet.
Your doctor usually diagnoses rheumatoid arthritis after a physical examination and a blood test. They might suggest that you get more tests from a rheumatologist.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you should keep taking your medicine as your healthcare team prescribes. It will help to control your symptoms and reduce the risk of further problems, like joint damage.
You’ll Have a Network of Resources
A support network can help you navigate various issues, from medication side effects to emotional challenges. It can also be a great place to share experiences, discuss treatment options and learn more about RA.
One example is a forum like Rheumatoid Arthritis Support, which has discussions on various topics and is a place where you can connect with others who understand your condition. This community is a terrific way to seek assistance and solutions, whether you are a novice or an experienced user.
Another resource is the Global RA Network, which was formed by a group of international arthritis patient organizations to create an online platform where they can share their work and information. Its goal is to make RA sufferers’ life better all over the world.
You’ll Be a Support to Others
The problematic nature of rheumatoid arthritis means you may need to rely on a support network, whether it is friends or family. They can help with practical issues such as cooking, housework, or errands when you don’t feel well enough to do them yourself.
They can also listen when you need to talk about the emotional side of RA – and help you find the proper treatment for your needs. Having a support network can also make you feel less alone in your RA and give you the confidence to live with this chronic condition.
One of the best places to do this is by joining a rheumatoid arthritis support forum. These active online forums are a safe space to discuss your experiences and share tips to help others. There are a variety of discussion topics, ranging from medication side effects to family planning with RA.