Rheumatoid arthritis is manageable to a certain extent. If you think you have rheumatoid arthritis, you should see your doctor, who will do a blood test to determine if you have an antibody called rheumatoid factor in your system.
If you do have rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor will work with you to design ways of coping with the disease. The best program for rheumatoid arthritis includes rest and non-weight-bearing exercise such as walking, as well as certain medications you can take when the pain becomes severe. This medication may include aspirin, which reduces the inflammation and eases the pain, and corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone.
In-rare cases, your doctor may suggest cytotoxic drugs, which are used to treat cancer, or a procedure called plasmapheresis, in which a pint or so of your blood is taken out and put through a centrifuge to separate the plasma from the blood cells. The cells are then combined with new plasma and returned to your circulatory system. The purpose is to give the immune system an extra boost at a time when it may really need it.
The most important thing to do, however, is to learn to accept the disease and to do whatever's necessary to treat your symptoms when the disease does flare up.