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How much weakness and fatigue is normal with RA?

I get VERY fatigued very easily. I walk across the lawn, and feel like I've been running a marathon, I'm so exhausted, I have to sit down. I brush my kid's hair and have to rest every 2 or 3 times I raise my arm to brush. My arm burns like I've been lifting weights! It's just plain silly.

This has gone on for almost the whole time since before I was diagnosed - the weakness and fatigue with very minor exertion. If I have to carry a bag of groceries, I'm wiped out for the rest of the day. Most of the time, I'm moving around on what seems to be sheer willpower. (I still mow the lawn, clean house, etc - but it feels like it's going to kill me one of these times) I just wonder whether anyone else has this.. and if they have anything that helps!!!!

  1. Thank you so much for reaching out. I have experienced exhaustion like you have described.I'm sure you are already doing this but let your Rheumatologist know your symptoms.
    Also, just a suggestion but it might be helpful to discuss with your doctor the medication you are taking for your RA. Sometimes medications we take stop working in our body. It just happens. Again this level of fatigue is not abnormal for me, however it is my body's way of telling me something isn't right. I believe your body is telling you something too. I know it is hard but listen to what it is saying. It has taken me many years to actually stop and listen to what my body is saying.
    Also have you had you Vitamin levels checked of recent? Specifically Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 and B6. You would be surprised what havoc vitamin deficiency can play in your life. I have included a link to a series I wrote on this topic.
    https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/vitamin-deficiencies/
    https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/vitamin-importance/
    https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/nutrition/mineral-food-sources/
    Hope you find the articles helpful.

    Please keep us posted. Take Care of yourself. I truly do care and hope to hear an update on how you are doing. Just Keep Swimming...Lynn Marie, "RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member"

    1. I've found that most of us with autoimmune diseases are deficient in Vitamin D! In addition I've found probiotics to help!

    2. I don't know about the probiotics, as I don't take them. But the deficiency in Vitamin D3 is very common in many autoimmune diseases.

  2. Thanks so much! I have told my Dr, he keeps trying new meds. Next to start with is xeljanz, once the rx gets filled. (mail order pharm) My d levels were low at one point so I take supplements now. I haven't had b levels checked in a while, but I felt the same while I was supplementing with B complex as well. I take whole-food vitamins with extra of a bunch of different ones, and eat only healthy foods, no processed stuff, and I might eat out once every few months - everything I eat is raw veggies or food I cook myself from whole ingredients. No sugar or wheat or corn.
    Since this ride started a few years ago, I've only have a brief moment of true relief - several weeks on Enbrel about a year ago - Then it stopped working and nothing's worked since. I worry that at some point they'll have tried everything, and I'll just be stuck like this forever, lol!
    I hope to get the xeljanz sometime this month, and will hopefully get some relief. 😀

    1. Hi . Sorry you are having trouble finding a med. Unfortunately, this is all too common - basically trial and error. Humira and Enbrel are both Anti-TNF drugs. They are often the first biologics tried, although this is largely a legacy of them having been the first biologics developed. This article from our editorial team looks at biologic medications and breaks them down by the particular inflammatory molecule they inhibit: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/treatment/biologics-treatment-options-for-ra. In addition, there are JAK inhibitors, which work in much the same way as biologics, but are not made from living material and thus can be made in pill form (See this article for more information: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/jak-inhibitor-treatment). Just figured this information might be helpful as you discuss potential treatments with your doctor. Wishing you the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

    2. Me too!!

  3. Just was checking in to see how you are doing. Just Keep Swimming...Lynn Marie, "RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member"

    1. Still swimming, lol. I think maybe I'm having a 'flare' except I kind of go from pretty crappy to OMG I HURT and then back to pretty crappy. Xeljanz finally approved so I should get it within the next week or so. And then, I can actually try the med.
      *sigh*

  4. Every single day faitigue pain swelling is my lifepartner. It is simply something i must endure because I must work and live my life. I do everything you do plus everyday use multi pain patches usually at least 6 and compression wraps on top. In our community I could get bags of gold easier than pain meds. I carefully use arthritis strength OTC meds and dream of the afterC19 days when we can take steroids again. Biologics++made me seriously ill&ruined my health. RheumMD says try to hold out for at least another 10 years using compression gloves++to decrease joint damage on my fingers because of biologics side effects. Every night I soak my feet with warm water epsom salts melatonin which helps with pain&sleep. I also use patches with herbal vitamin combinations which help a little. They are expensive so they are special occasion only. Just keep moving all the time pacing myself. Just breathe.

    1. , hang in there. I know starting any new medication can be daunting, to say the least! If you haven't done so already, I would keep communicating with your doctor about the side effects you are already experiencing. Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

    2. thankyou. I appreciate it, I know ultimately it's my decision I have to make. But I appreciate the encouragement, im a mess

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