Medical Alerts for Seniors with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Introduction

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)affects more than 1.3 million Americans. It is the most common form of autoimmune-induced arthritis and tends to occur predominantly in women. Women account for about 75 percent of RA sufferers.

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Overview

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic, painful joint inflammation. Some individuals also suffer involvement of the skin, lungs, eyes, blood vessels, and heart. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly starts to attack its own tissues. Over time, the chronic inflammation caused by this disorder can lead to bone erosion, which consequently leads to joint deformities.

Impairment

RA causes chronic joint inflammation and pain, which can make daily activities difficult or impossible. Living with RA is never easy. Prescription medications and pain management can help reduce inflammation, but movement typically remains painful. Most sufferers try to exercise to maintain joint mobility and reduce stiffness. Low impact exercises such as swimming or using a treadmill or elliptical machine may help a sufferer maintain some mobility.

RA sufferers battle daily impairments when faced with a flare-up. These impairments include:

  • Lack of mobility
  • Joint stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
Medical Alert Benefits

Having Medical Alert can provide RA sufferers with peace of mind. If a severe flare-up should occur and the senior is unable to get out of bed or the bath, or should suddenly fall because of the severe pain and stiffness caused by the disorder, they can utilize Medical Alerts to call for help.

Symptoms of RA may come and go. The severity typically depends on the level of inflammation. Flare-ups can last for a few days or months.

RA Symptoms:

  • Swollen, sore, warm joints that persist for six weeks or longer.
  • Joint stiffness, which can be worse in the morning or after periods of prolonged inactivity.
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • The joints on both sides of the body are affected equally.
  • Typically, the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet are afflicted first.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Eyes may feel painful, dry, and sensitive to light.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Gum irritation.
  • Rheumatoid nodules may form under the skin on bony locations.
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels.
  • Lung inflammation which can lead to scarring.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anemia
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Many RA sufferers opt to live their lives without Medical Alerts. However, when facing the daily symptoms of RA, they should try to maintain a certain level of daily safety to prevent possible accidents.

  • Swelling and Stiffness: Swollen and stiff joints make it difficult to move around. A senior may want to consider utilizing a walker or cane for stability during a flare-up. Having safety items such as a shower bar, handrails, safety toilet frame, non-slip flooring, and a stand-assist for getting out of bed are all key to maintaining safety.
  • Failing Eyesight: The eyes of an RA sufferer can be dry, painful, and sensitive to light, which makes seeing difficult. Keeping a pair of reading glasses in each room may be beneficial. Adding additional lights to a room could also help the sufferer see more clearly.
  • Lung Issues: Many RA sufferers have lung issues that cause shortness of breath. Having oxygen on hand may help sufferers to breathe easier.
  • Dry Mouth: Having hard candy or throat lozenges available helps a dry mouth.
  • Mobility Problems: Moving around with RA can be very difficult. Having a phone in every room (a cell phone or a cordless phone) will be beneficial if the sufferer needs to call 911.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Precautions:
  • Avoid Inactivity: Fatigue and pain are a part of RA and often makes the sufferer less than enthusiastic when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle. However, inactivity only makes the symptoms worse. RA sufferers should push themselves to exercise daily.
  • Take All Medications: Many RA sufferers stop taking their prescription medications when the flare-up diminishes. The sufferer should always take all medications as directed by the physician and pharmacist.
  • Deal with Depression: Battling a chronic condition can wear anyone down. If a person starts to become depressed and no longer takes enjoyment out of life, they should immediately seek the help of their physician, family members, and friends.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Medical Alerts Conclusion

Medical Alert services are beneficial to any senior who suffers mobility issues such as those caused by RA. If you should fall, or your joints are just too inflamed for you to move, Medical Alerts can help you to call for help quickly and efficiently. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that seniors who suffer from arthritis are 1.3 times more likely to fall.  Once you fall, you may sustain injury or a serious break, which may render you unable to reach a phone to call for help. Having Medical Alerts is a safety precaution that could be a lifesaver.

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