Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which your immune system attacks the tissues in your joints. Your immune system believes that healthy tissue around your joints is foreign, and it attempts to protect itself by releasing antibodies to attack the area. This type of arthritis is shorter term than most forms of arthritis and can develop within weeks to a few months as opposed to years of decay.
The main affected body parts that are attacked by rheumatoid arthritis are your fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, feet, and ankles. This disease is categorized as an autoimmune disease. In short, your body releases enzymes that attack its own tissues regardless if they are healthy or not. The process of your immune system attacking your body can cause finger joint pain, swollen joints, stiffness, malformation, and reduced movement and function. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered a chronic disease, and so far, has no known cure. Immune system symptoms can additionally occur with rheumatoid arthritis-like fatigue, fever, weight loss, joint inflammation, anemia, bumps under the skin, or lung inflammation. RA also produces symmetrical symptoms, and both sides of the body are usually affected similarly at the same time.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ONE OR MORE OF THE BELOW SYMPTOMS YOU MAY HAVE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS:
● Joint stiffness, pain, swelling that affects multiple joints ● Symmetrical symptoms occurring evenly on both sides of your body ● Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes ● Systemic symptoms like fatigue, fever, and malaise ● Loss of function and mobility ● Extreme weight loss ● Weakness ● Joint deformity ● Pain and swelling in two or more joints for early diagnosis that can reduce the risk of long-term problems
RISK FACTORS INVOLVED WITH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
● Older age individuals ● Female ● Genetic predisposition ● Never given birth ● Overweight or obese ● Smoke tobacco-based products
Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by performing a physical examination and reviewing your clinical symptoms as well as reviewing your family medical history for any cases of severe arthritis in past generations. Doctors perform blood tests to look for the presence of antibodies that are known contributors to RA. Imaging tests can also be taken to look for signs of joint damage and inflammation in the joints, lungs, eyes, and heart. There are no known cures in this deteriorative disease, and no one knows the cause, but there are methods to assist in your recovery and improve the quality of living after being diagnosed.
Below are some recommended treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. The objective of treatment for arthritis is to reduce pain, manage arthritis symptoms in everyday living, and prevent further damage to your joints.
◈ NSAIDs like ibuprofen are used to reduce swelling and pain ◈ Massage therapy through a TENS / EMS device ◈ Prescribed autoimmune drugs from your physician that can prevent antibody formation ◈ Physical therapy ◈ Occupational therapy (training individuals to learn new ways of performing daily tasks) ◈ Surgery to repair damaged joints, correct deformities, and reduce pain ◈ Applying heat or cold ◈ Acupuncture ◈ Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are crucial in managing this disease ◈ Nutritional supplements like fish oil ◈ Hydrotherapy ◈ Chiropractic visits
A change in diet can also aid you in your fight against rheumatoid arthritis. Eating right won’t cure the degenerative disease, but better food choices can aid in reducing inflammation, getting nutrients your body needs and doesn’t have to fight for, and helping you maintain a healthy weight to put you at less of a risk factor. The Mediterranean diet is the best proven choice for people that have rheumatoid arthritis. This includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Below are some foods you should be eating that can help you if you are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis:
◈ Fatty fish (Tuna, salmon, sardines, and other cold-water fish are rich in healthy fats that help inflammation control.) ◈ Fruits and vegetables (The goal with these is to pick fruits and veggies that are rich in antioxidants that can prevent cell damage.) ◈ Whole grains (Oats, whole wheat, quinoa, and brown rice can lower the risk of heart disease which is a significant issue for people who have rheumatoid arthritis.) ◈ Legumes (Peas and beans are a beneficial source of protein that promotes muscle health and development, particularly for people with rheumatoid arthritis that have joint deterioration.) ◈ Nuts (Nuts are packed with monounsaturated fats, and provide important nutrients and heart healthy assistance.) ◈ Olive oil (Instead of using other unhealthy oils and fats, olive oil can act like an NSAID in alleviating pain. It is wise to be careful and consume olive oil sparingly as to not gain weight as you can with an increase of any kind of oil.)
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