Rheumatoid Arthritis

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is a common joint disorder that can affect one or multiple joints.  A joint, which moves body parts connected by its bones, is an area in the body where two bones meet.  Arthritis is not a disease and refers to joint pain, when inflammation occurs in the joint(s).  Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks the body's tissues.  Arthritis can occur in all people of all ages, sexes, and races, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. While it is more common in women, it primarily occurs when people get older. 

Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Symptoms of RA tend to gradually develop over time, but sometimes they can occur out of the blue.  The signs of RA usually affect people over between 40-60, and pain usually occurs in the smaller joints (fingers and toes) first.  Sometimes people with RA don't experience problems with their joints, but they experience other issues with their skin, eyes, heart, lungs, or even nerve tissue.  Symptoms vary from person to person, but they similarly affect the joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles. 

  • Joint Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling Around Joints
  • Decrease in Range of Motion
  • Redness of Skin Around Affected Joint
  • Fatigue or Loss of Appetite (this is common in people who have RA) 
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have a history of RA, your chances of having RA increase.  RA occurs when the immune system attack's the body's tissues.  This affects synovium, a tissue that produces fluid that keeps the cartilage healthy and lubricates the joints. This destroys the cartilage and even the bone in the joint.  Genetics can also increase one's risk of developing RA.

  • Family History
  • Age (although this depends on the person)
  • Previous Joint Injury
  • Infection in the Joint
  • Your Gender (women are more susceptible to Arthritis than men)
  • Obesity
  • Immune System Dysfunction
  • Abnormal Metabolism

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Weight loss is an effective, although not necessarily the easiest, way to diminish symptoms of RA.  Eliminating processed foods, sugar, alcohol, salt, meat, dairy, and genetically modified foods from your diet is a good way to start.  Solely eating vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and whole grains like barley or buckwheat is great way to lose weight.  It's also important to get the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids.  Also, adding turmeric to your dishes can help because it has anti-inflammatory properties.  Accompany your diet with easy workouts that don't put too much stress on the joints (biking and swimming are great options).  After losing 10-20 pounds, symptoms should reduce.
  • Many people with RA find that acupuncture aids their symptoms.  While it doesn't work for everyone, it can help to relieve pain and inflammation in the affected joint(s).  
  • Using hot and cold treatments can dramatically affect how your joints feel.  Hot showers and baths, especially in the mornings, help ease the stiffness in the joints.  Applying an ice pack to the affected joint can also help reduce pain.  If you have a hot pad or hot water bottle, alternating from hot to cold treatments can help benefit you.
  • Meditation or other relaxation exercises can help Arthritis because it reduces stress levels.  Those with RA and depression were helped the most by meditation. Similarly, getting massages helps move the fluid in the body and loosen the joints.  Massages also help people with RA establish a better range of motion. 
Things you should eat
  • Turmeric
  • Soy Beans or Edamame
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Cherries
  • Broccoli
  • Green Tea
  • Citrus
  • Beans
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