Health Fitness

What does it mean to live with rheumatoid arthritis

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When you think of rheumatoid arthritis, also known as RA, you think of throbbing joints and limited mobility, unexplained pain, and incurable discomfort. But what exactly is rheumatoid arthritis? The Arthritis Foundation defines it as an autoimmune disease. Ultimately, doctors and scientists are not sure what the ultimate cause of rheumatoid arthritis is; however, they know that it is related to the immune system in one way or another. When the immune system is not working properly, it can accidentally attack the joints causing swelling, pain, and immobility. The joints commonly affected by this are the smaller joints in the hands, feet, wrists, and ankles.

Is rheumatoid arthritis genetic?

Right now, scientists are studying DNA markers that indicate whether or not you’ll develop RA, but there is simply not enough research to have a definitive answer. Most doctors recommend that if one of your parents or grandparents has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, you should take preventive measures such as not smoking or eating a diet rich in healthy omega fatty acids. While it is not a guarantee that you will suffer from RA due to your family history, taking these steps can help in preventing rheumatoid arthritis and managing RA symptoms.

What are the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis?

Signs of rheumatoid arthritis in the early stages of the disease can include pain and tenderness. However, there may be an absence of the typical redness and swelling during this early stage that usually appears as the disease progresses. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can include:

Joint pain –

This can include morning stiffness for thirty minutes or more. It can affect the same joints on both sides of the body, often the small joints in the hands and wrists, affecting more than one joint.

Tired –

Many people may experience a loss of energy or feel exceptionally tired for no reason.

Loss of appetite –

Ongoing inflammation can make a person less hungry or experience nausea.

Slight fever –

Inflammation can also cause a mild fever inside the body, as the immune system fights off non-existent bacteria. This mild fever can cause headaches and some body aches.

How long do RA flare-ups last?

Knowing how long you will have to experience symptoms will help you control pain. The length of an RA flare depends on the type of treatment and how quickly treatment begins. If flare-ups are not treated, they can last for weeks or even months. Addressing an outbreak of RA right away can reduce the duration significantly, from weeks to days. Rheumatoid arthritis treatment is key to relieving symptoms of pain and distress.

How do you calm arthritis?

One of the first ways to combat RA symptoms is to prepare yourself mentally – to know what to expect, which you just learned. Next, you need to know what you can do about it. Holistic rheumatoid arthritis treatments include:

Physical therapy –

See a physical therapist who can assign you certain exercises and activities that will help strengthen your body and muscles, which in turn will help relieve joint pain.

Natural medicine –

Natural therapies like hot and cold therapy can help relieve the swelling and pain of RA. In addition to these, magnet treatments have been used as a way to relieve osteoarthritis pain and may be helpful in treating RA. Meditation has also been tested and shown to be helpful with RA symptoms and stress. By relaxing the mind, you relax the body and thus move away from pain and discomfort.

Diet and food changes –

Some foods and supplements are suspected of helping RA symptoms. One of the best supplements to take is fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil helps lubricate the joints and relieve RA pain. Also, eating healthy whole foods like fish and nuts, which are full of Omega-3s, can help reduce swelling and inflammation caused by RA. Emu oil, which is rich in Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, can also reduce inflammation. Emu oil has worked better than fish oil in reducing the effects of inflammation according to some studies.

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