The Best Apps for RA
The advent of apps has made things easier. With the flash of a thumb or finger, users may be able to tap a graphic to show where the pain is or use a sliding scale to detail how much it hurts. Doctors can now have a much more complete picture of the effects of the disease. People with RA also have a better understanding.
“It keeps you up to date with what’s going on,” Faircloth says. “One of the things that I really like is looking back, how many days a month I felt bad, compared to how many days I felt good. I can go back and look at that sometimes and say : “Wow, March was a bad month. Twenty-two out of 30 days was not a good day.
Features vary from app to app. Some have medication reminders, some invite you in, some have links to educational resources and support groups, and others can connect to fitness equipment or your doctor’s office. But all of them involve you in your own care.
A few years ago, Ashley Newton was struggling with her RA on a hot, humid and heavy trip to Mexico. The app she was using allowed her to add a note to describe what she was going through, which was essential in her health assessment when she saw her rheumatologist.
“When I came back to see my doctor, we could kind of look at what my trend was over the past 3 months, and I could articulate, ‘Here are the types of activities that really caused me these extra problems’,” says Newton, who was diagnosed with RA about 5 years ago. “I really think so, because I was following and could start to see this pattern emerge … we could make decisions more easily.”
Now, before his trip, Newton can see his doctor to consider medications that might help prevent, or at least control, RA flares. She says the app she uses – ArthritisPower, created by the nonprofit CreakyJoints and the University of Alabama at Birmingham – has made it easier for her to manage her RA symptoms.
“It has already had an impact on my care, because it gives me something difficult and fast. I almost feel like I’m equipping myself with evidence, ”she said. “This gives [my doctors] a real measure to consider and make a decision. “
Faircloth, who uses a few apps for her care, also strongly believes in their power.
“With this app, I feel like I have better control over my health,” she says.
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