The Effects of Arthritis on the Daily Life of Seniors

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very serious condition that can affect people of all ages, but is most common among seniors. Diagnosing and treating rheumatoid arthritis is often difficult, with most patients reporting a significant amount of pain as a result of this disease. Ultimately, due to the pain and other debilitating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, much of the treatment focuses on controlling this pain, as well as preventing the disease from growing worse.

Rheumatoid arthritis can have a huge impact on those with the autoimmune disease, carrying into many aspects of their lives. Since one of the major symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is joint discomfort in at least one joint, with the disease usually manifesting itself in multiple joints throughout the body, this can easily spill over into many of the everyday tasks that are taken for granted.

Some of the more difficult tasks for those with rheumatoid arthritis often involve dexterity related actions, such as cooking and writing, which is made worse by what many patients report as constant pain. In many patients, side effects of arthritis pain are also common, with things such as fatigue being commonly caused by the patient being unable to sleep due to general feelings of discomfort. Fatigue, which is one of the most common side-effects of rheumatoid arthritis, is also often followed up with eating disorders, which will often result in the patient no longer desiring food and therefore loosing weight. This can be very serious among elderly patients, as not only can weight loss itself be extremely unhealthy, but it can also cause other dietary problems, such as anemia.

Further, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis also often cause the patient to slip into a state of depression and lead many seniors to live a more solitary lifestyle, withdrawing from many social activities as they are unable to do them without pain. This withdrawal only serves to make the emotional problems faced by some seniors even more "real," further compounding the emotional problems that can result as of rheumatoid arthritis. Often, this leads the patient to use alternative treatments or devices like lift chairs, which are designed to help make living with arthritis much easier.

In addition to rheumatoid arthritis causing direct emotional problems, the reduction in mobility and increase in pain caused by everyday activities will often force the senior to dramatically change their lifestyle, including early retirement or necessitating a change of employment. Secondary activities, such as golf or other recreational sports, are also often pushed aside and no longer possible as the disease progresses. These lifestyle changes can have a major impact on the mental state of the senior, causing further emotional concerns.

Among the elderly, the effects of rheumatoid arthritis can be very serious and long lasting. In many cases, these diseases will have a tremendous impact on not only the physical activities the senior can preform, but also their mental state.

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