How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Affect Everyday Life

Rheumatoid arthritis and other arthritic conditions can have an impact on your daily life. Meet three people with arthritis and learn how they manage their joint pain.

Dana Gottesman
Reviewed by
John Varga, MD
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3. Sleep: These changes make a big difference…

Taking an anti-inflammatory medication at bedtime and making dietary adjustments have helped John S. Clark, 46, of Norcross, GA, sleep more soundly. “When I was first diagnosed with gout,” he says, “it would sometimes be difficult to fall asleep.”

Gout is a disease marked by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. Many people develop gout in their big toe, and flare-ups can make it difficult to walk, let alone sleep. “I would get a tight feeling in my ankles when my toe joint was hurting that would keep me up at night,” says John, a manager of a radio broadcasting network for Clear Channel.

John dumped all fast food—which he really enjoyed—from his diet, started eating more fruits and vegetables, and included more cranberry juice, which is thought to ease inflammation.

“But what really helped was water,” he says. “I started drinking more water and that did a lot to keep the inflammation under control.”

Then, four years after his diagnosis, the gout in John’s right big toe became so inflamed that it required surgery. After surgery and with the right medication, John’s condition has greatly improved. “The changes to my diet also make a big difference.”

April 2013