How to Fight RA Fatigue

Is rheumatoid arthritis sapping your energy? These fatigue-busters can help.

Susan Amoruso
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Take a break. Pacing yourself can help keep pain at bay and energy levels high. Cut an activity short while you still feel fine—say, after 20 minutes or so of gardening. Take a short break, and if you feel okay, resume the activity later.

Get tested for anemia. Anemia, a condition in which the body has too few of the red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, affects up to two-thirds of people with RA and is most common in those with severe joint disease. If left untreated, anemia can result in fatigue and weakness.

Take a power nap. The pain of RA can make both falling asleep and staying asleep a challenge. Next time you feel fatigued, try squeezing in a 20- to 30-minute mid-day nap. Although this won’t compensate for poor-quality nighttime sleep, it can help you rejuvenate for the day ahead.

April 2013