What Is Rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease mainly affecting the joints. In an autoimmune disease body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells. Rheumatoid arthritis causes warm, swollen and painful joints. The joints of hands and wrists are commonly involved but it may affect other body parts also. It can affect hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, toes.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid arthritis?
Symptoms of arthritis develop gradually over a week to months. The signs and symptoms may vary as per the organ of the body on which it attacks.
The signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Joints- Inflammation of the synovial membrane, swelling, tenderness, feeling of warmth, stiffness.
- Lungs: Lung fibrosis
- Skin: Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), Erythema
- Blood Vessels and heart: Inflammation of vessels, myocardial infarction, strokes
- Blood: Anaemia, increased platelet counts,
Other common symptoms are fatigue, weight loss, malaise, morning stiffness, fever, loss of appetite.
What Are The Causes Of Rheumatoid arthritis?
The exact cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is not known. It is caused by the inflammation of the synovium in which our own immune system starts attacking the healthy body tissues. The inflammation of the thin lining of the cells covering the tissues and joints results in Rheumatoid arthritis.
The factors triggering the RA are enlisted as below:
- Genetic factors: A person with a family history of RA is more likely to suffer from this disease.
- Hormonal factors: Women are more likely to suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis than Men. This can be due to the presence of more number of estrogens in women, but the link between estrogens and RA has not been proven yet.
- Environmental Factors: Smoking is found to be linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis. People who smoke more are at greater risk of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis than people who don’t smoke.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Rheumatoid arthritis?
- Reduce weight: Losing some pounds can help to fight this disease.
- Get adequate sleep: Sound sleep can help to relieve the symptoms.
- Pay attention to the early symptoms: It is advised to visit a doctor if you notice any symptoms related to RA. This can help to start the treatment at the earliest.
- Perform some physical activities or exercise: Doing exercise regularly will keep the muscles and joints moving.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Rheumatoid arthritis?
- Don’t smoke: It can trigger Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Don’t skip medications: When people start feeling good they started to skip the medication. Don’t skip the medications without consulting with the doctor.
- Don’t be a couch potato: Although it is recommended to take rest if you had RA but taking too much rest can make your pain worse. Performing small physical works can help to keep the joints moving.
- Don’t take fish supplements without consulting a doctor. Taking any such medication can interfere with your treatment and result in side effects.
- Don’t drink alcohol: It can slow down the effect of your medications.
- Don’t lose hope: Losing the hope can make you depress and can hinder the treatment process.
- Don’t try any vigorous exercise: Exercise should be done only under the supervision of a trainer. Vigorous exercise can worsen the symptoms.
What Are The Best Foods For Rheumatoid arthritis?
Although there is no specific diet to cure RA, but one can try the following foods to relieve the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:
- Garlic: It contains diallyl disulfide which helps to relieve the symptoms of arthritis especially inflammation.
- Turmeric: It contains curcumin which is the best anti-inflammatory agent to treat Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts: They contain sulforaphane which helps to slow the progression of cartilage damage and thus treats Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Fatty Fish: They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and found helpful in the treatment of inflammation during arthritis.
- Walnuts: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it helps to reduce the inflammation.
- Spinach, Berries- These contains antioxidants and also served as anti-inflammatory agents
What Are The Worst Foods For Rheumatoid arthritis?
- Processed and fried foods increase inflammation.
- Alcohol and tobacco: Alcohol and tobacco consumers are at the increased risk of having arthritis.
- Excess salt: Intake of a high amount of salt can increase the inflammation.
- Sugar products: These can worsen rheumatoid arthritis by increasing inflammation in the arteries.
- Wheat and gluten: Increase joint pain.
What Are The Medicines For Rheumatoid arthritis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Rheumatoid arthritis?
Since there is no cure for Rheumatoid arthritis but it can be managed. Use of medication and some changes in lifestyle can help to improve the quality of daily life. Below are some tips by which a person can manage Rheumatoid arthritis effectively:
- Try to avoid prolonged static positions. Avoid long sittings.
- Exercise and practice Yoga
- Use hot or cold ice packs
- Take healthy and nutritious diet
- Practice meditation and relaxation techniques