Can the Pain of Arthritis be Eased with Diet Changes
This Article by Jean Maguire details many of the theoretical causes of rheumatoid Arthritis as it is now understood. Even with all the research available, the final answer is still on the horizon. Arthritis is a complicated disease with many manifestations.
Maybe the information below will help you with your journey if you have some form of this disease. Finding a good caregiver that you can trust is always important. Communicating with them about your symptoms, your pain intensity and the amount of relief you obtain from their care is essential.
“By Jean Maguire
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one of the many types of arthritis, is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects 2.1 million Americans.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
“Arthritis doctors commonly believe an infection like a virus may trigger the onset of RA,” says Dr. Wilson. “Patients may have a genetic predisposition that is set off by an environmental trigger such as a bacterial or viral infection, but we haven’t figured out what those triggers are.”
Smoking is also a risk factor for RA.
Whatever the cause, RA is mainly characterized by inflammation of the joint lining (synovium). It can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain and disability. It can also harm organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys and skin, as well as nerves and blood vessels.
Symptoms usually start in the joints of the fingers, wrists and feet, which become warm, swollen and painful to move. Usually, both sides of the body are affected equally. Those with RA often experience fatigue, loss of appetite and low-grade fever, along with stiffness in the morning that lasts one to several hours. Nodules may form under the skin, frequently over bony areas exposed to pressure, such as the elbows. Over time, joint deformities may occur.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?
In reaching a diagnosis of RA, a doctor will take a family history and do a thorough physical exam. X-rays, sonograms or MRIs can help confirm a diagnosis. Blood tests are used to detect rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies (ANA), although not everyone who tests positive for rheumatoid factor actually has RA.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?
“Even if it’s in your genes, you can still prevent damage from RA,” says Dr. White. “The biggest news is the use of what are known as biologic medications, or biologic response modifiers (BRMs).” These can put the disease into remission and alleviate the pain. The earlier they are started, the better. BRMs must be injected under the skin or infused and delivered into a vein.
NSAIDs and low doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are also used to reduce inflammation, thereby relieving joint pain, stiffness and joint swelling. The disease-modifying drug methotrexate prevents cells in the synovium from dividing in an abnormal way. Palliative measures”rest, exercise and the application of warmth or cold to reduce pain”are also frequently used to treat RA. Physical and occupational therapy help improve strength and lessen the stress on joints.
Scientists are studying genes that play a role in RA, says Dr. White. This could lead to the development of a vaccine to prevent the disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is treatable. And the earlier you get treatment, the greater your chance of slowing the disease’s progress. By following your doctor’s advice and taking good care of yourself, you can continue to enjoy a productive life”
Not discussed in this article is something very important. R.A. is sometimes very closely related to allergies in the way it operates. Because of this there is much discussion about dietary changes that seem to be beneficial for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. .
©MediZine’s Healthy Living, Second Quarter 2007Get a FREE 2-year subscription to REMEDY, one of MediZine LLC’s award-winning health publications.
Where has this been all of my life?
I have tried almost everything – surgical procedures, prescription drugs, over-the-counter pills, etc. – but nothing has given me the permanent results this has!Thanks Arthrits Free For Life for answering all of my questions and being so caring. Todd Wright, 38 Jacksonville, Florida