Question 5 Of : Prognosis
Purple Powered Lunch Bowl With Crispy Chickpeas
Support your joint health with this highly nutritious anti-inflammatory Purple Powered Lunch Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas. This bowl is full of purple foods indicating its phytonutrient power. Many of these phytonutrients act as antioxidants, scavenging free radicals and reducing inflammation to help support mobile joints and an active lifestyle. Some of the most beneficial types of veggies for joint health are cruciferous vegetables, and this bowl has a few! Kale and red cabbage contain a compound called sulforaphane which, when eaten regularly, has anti-arthritic capabilities that help to block joint inflammation and slow cartilage deterioration. Not only is this bowl packed with plant-nourishing goodness, but its also full of flavor, texture, and other essential nutrients that contribute to overall health.
What Areas Of The Body Are Affected
Symptoms of joint inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis can occur throughout several areas of the body. The nature of autoimmune disease in RA leads to inflammation in multiple joints gradually wearing the bone and cartilage away.
The main areas affected by joint inflammation are:
RA symptoms can occur in either one or multiple locations. When symptoms occur in more than four different joints in the body, the condition is referred to as polyarthritis.
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Who Should Get Testing
Patients who experience inflammation, pain, or loss of mobility in joints should discuss testing for rheumatoid arthritis with their doctor, especially if symptoms occur in multiple joints or in matching joints on both sides of the body, such as both wrists. Other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Stiffness in the morning for 30 minutes or longer
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Firm lumps beneath the skin
These symptoms are often due to something other than RA when they last less than six weeks. The longer a patient experiences symptoms, the more likely the symptoms are to be due to RA.
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis in its early stages can be challenging, as patients may experience few symptoms, but early diagnosis is important because early treatment may prevent joints from worsening or at least slow the process. When symptoms are present, they often differ from person to person and mimic the symptoms of other diseases. Testing is an important part of the process of determining whether symptoms are due to RA or another condition.
After receiving a diagnosis of RA, its important for patients to continue rheumatoid arthritis testing. Testing can assist doctors in assessing the severity of RA, as well as monitoring the efficacy of treatment, tracking disease progression, and detecting potentially serious side effects of treatment drugs.
Diet Can Help With Ra
Rheumatoid arthritis can be debilitating, especially when pain and inflammation make it difficult to hold down a job or care for family members. Treatments are often aggressive and can have their own set of side effects, so many people look to lifestyle factors and complementary therapies for relief. Diet can be one of the most important interventions in preventing and managing rheumatoid arthritis because inflammation and gut dysbiosis seem to play a part in its development and progression. A whole foods, plant-based diet, in particular, is a low-risk option with potentially significant benefits for RA. Eating this way can reduce inflammatory markers, decrease the risk of flare-ups, and improve the quality of life for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and for just about everyone else, too.
Tell us in the comments:
- Have you tried dietary changes to manage RA? What were the results?
- What is one change you could try this week to increase your fiber intake?
- What kind of food would you like to try to improve your RA?
Featured Image: AsiaVision
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How Is Ra Treated
RA can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies. Treatment for RA usually includes the use of medications that slow disease and prevent joint deformity, called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs biological response modifiers are medications that are an effective second-line treatment. In addition to medications, people can manage their RA with self-management strategies proven to reduce pain and disability, allowing them to pursue the activities important to them. People with RA can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning to use five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.
Will I Need Surgery For Arthritis
Healthcare providers usually only recommend surgery for certain severe cases of arthritis. These are cases that havent improved with conservative treatments. Surgical options include:
- Fusion: Two or more bones are permanently fused together. Fusion immobilizes a joint and reduces pain caused by movement.
- Joint replacement: A damaged, arthritic joint gets replaced with an artificial joint. Joint replacement preserves joint function and movement. Examples include ankle replacement, hip replacement, knee replacement and shoulder replacement.
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When To Call A Doctor
if you have:
- Sudden, unexplained swelling and pain in any joint or joints.
- Joint pain associated with a fever or rash.
- Pain that is so severe that you cannot use the joint.
- Back or neck pain along with weakness in your arms or legs.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Joint pain that continues and has not improved for over 6 weeks.
- Side effects that occur with large doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other medicine used to treat your arthritis. NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen .
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider may refer you to a physician who specializes in arthritis . Rheumatologists diagnose people with rheumatoid arthritis based on a combination of several factors. Theyll do a physical exam and ask you about your medical history and symptoms. Your rheumatologist will order blood tests and imaging tests.
The blood tests look for inflammation and blood proteins that are signs of rheumatoid arthritis. These may include:
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate or sed rate confirms inflammation in your joints.
- C-reactive protein .
- About 80% of people with RA test positive for rheumatoid factor .
- About 60% to 70% of people living with rheumatoid arthritis have antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides .
Your rheumatologist may order imaging tests to look for signs that your joints are wearing away. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause the ends of the bones within your joints to wear down. The imaging tests may include:
In some cases, your provider may watch how you do over time before making a definitive diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
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Who Gets Arthritis In Their Hands
You are more likely to get arthritis in your hands if:
- Youre older. Osteoarthritis is commonly seen after age 50. Rheumatoid arthritis typically first appears between the age of 35 and 50.
- Youre overweight.
- Youve had previous injuries to your hand. If youve dislocated or broken any joints in your hands or fingers, you are more likely to develop arthritis.
- Youve inherited genes that cause the development of arthritis.
Can Dietary Changes Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis
While genetic and infection-based causes of RA are mostly out of your control, you do get to decide what you eat.
And thats good news because it turns out that nutritional therapy can be a powerful tool for managing RA. According to a 2017 study in Frontiers in Nutrition, dietary changes can reduce RA flare-ups. In the same study, scientists found that nutritional interventions can also delay RA progression. The researchers drew a direct connection between gut health, diet, and the symptoms and development of RA.
Is it metaphor time again? OK its like your microbiome is full of trillions of employees, many of whom train, manage, and recruit the workers who run the immune system. And they eat all their meals at the company cafeteria. If you serve them abundant and nutritious fare, they do their jobs well. If you give them junk food, quality goes out the window, and pretty much anything goes.
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What Imaging Techniques May Be Used To Diagnose Arthritis
Imaging techniques may give your healthcare provider a clearer picture of what is happening to your joint. Imaging techniques may include the following:
X-ray. X-rays may show joint changes and bone damage found in some types of arthritis. Other imaging tests may also be done.
Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves to see the quality of synovial tissue, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Magnetic resonance imaging . MRI images are more detailed than X-rays. They may show damage to joints, including muscles, ligaments, and cartilage.
Arthroscopy. This procedure uses a thin tube containing a light and camera to look inside the joint. The arthroscope is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen. It is used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint to detect bone diseases and tumors to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation, and to treat certain conditions.
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Then Theyll Run More Tests
Doctors will also likely measure your overall level of inflammation using two common tests: C-reactive protein and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate . Not everyone with rheumatoid arthritis has elevated levels, but when the numbers are high, the findings can help confirm the diagnosis. If a patient has elevated ESR and/or CRP levels, it would imply they have an inflammatory kind of arthritis, versus osteoarthritis, Dr. Cohen says. Your doctor may continue to use these tests to monitor your disease and inflammation levels over time.
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Prediction Of Early Ra
A patient with inflammatory arthritis may pass several stages from the onset of arthritis to a specific form of rheumatic diseases such as RA . The first phase is the period leading up to the onset of arthritis .The second is the period during which persistence or remission is determined. The third and the fourth phases are the evolution into specific form of inflammatory arthritis and the outcome/severity of that arthritis. In some patients, these four phases follow in rapid sequences whereas in other patients the time course may prolong and continue for several months or years. Different genetic backgrounds and environmental factors or treatment can affect the various evolutionary phases of arthritis and alter the natural history of initial inflammatory arthritis .
How Does A Normal Joint Work
A joint is where two bones meet. Most of our joints are designed to allow the bones to move in certain directions and within certain limits.
For example, the knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most complicated. It must be strong enough to take our weight and must lock into position, so we can stand upright.
It also has to act as a hinge, so we can walk, and needs to twist and turn when we run or play sports.
The end of each bone is covered with cartilage that has a very smooth, slippery surface. The cartilage allows the ends of the bones to move against each other, almost without rubbing.
The joint is held in place by the synovium, which contains thick fluid to protect the bones and joint.
The synovium has a tough outer layer that holds the joint in place and stops the bones moving too far.
Strong cords called tendons anchor the muscles to the bones.
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What Is The Safest Drug For Rheumatoid Arthritis
The safest drug for rheumatoid arthritis is one that gives you the most benefit with the least amount of negative side effects. This varies depending on your health history and the severity of your RA symptoms. Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop a treatment program. The drugs your healthcare provider prescribes will match the seriousness of your condition.
Its important to meet with your healthcare provider regularly. Theyll watch for any side effects and change your treatment, if necessary. Your healthcare provider may order tests to determine how effective your treatment is and if you have any side effects.
The Connection Between Gut Health And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Theres a growing and exciting body of research that confirms a strong link between the health of your gut and the condition of your joints and overall health. But this isnt exactly a new idea. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek healer known as the father of medicine, theorized that all diseases originate in the gut.
The digestive microbiome is responsible for helping to break down food and produce vitamins, nutrients, and hormones that you need to stay healthy. Even more incredibly, 70% of your immune system is in your gut, where it trains immune cells, fends off harmful pathogens, and regulates immune function throughout your body.
Autoimmune diseases like RA are characterized by an overreaction of the immune system.
Because gut microbiota helps regulate immune system stability and function, it makes sense that immune dysfunction could stem from an impaired microbiome. In fact, a 2021 study at the Mayo Clinics Center for Individualized Medicine found that the health of a RA patients gut microbiome could predict the improvement of their arthritis over time.
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How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Commonly Treated
RA symptoms can be debilitating and lead to lower quality of life, especially during a flare-up when symptoms are at their worst. Over time, the disease can become systemic and eventually attack vital organs, causing disease complications and death.
Because of this, treatments for RA are usually aggressive. And although there is no known cure, the first line of defense often includes medications prescribed to reduce joint inflammation, relieve pain, and prevent or slow joint and tissue damage.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
- Biologic agents
However, many drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis have potentially serious side effects, like liver and kidney damage, increased blood pressure, and even the development of type 2 diabetes, among others.
If medications fail to stop the progression of tissue damage or have to be stopped due to side effects, surgery is typically the second line of treatment and can include:
- Total joint replacement
Does just reading those descriptions make you think, These procedures dont sound fun at all? If so, youre not alone. Because the treatment options for RA are potentially dangerous and carry serious side effects, many patients turn to complementary medicine, looking for additional sources of relief and treatment options that bring fewer side effects.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Rheumatoid Vasculitis
If you have RA, a doctor may diagnose you with RV based on your physical symptoms. Theyll check your body for signs of rash, pitting, ulcers, and tissue necrosis.
Theres no specific diagnostic test to confirm RV. Still, a doctor may run tests that may help confirm the diagnosis. Testing can rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as diabetes.
Tests may include:
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What Types Of Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Having a lifelong illness like rheumatoid arthritis may make you feel like you dont have much control over your quality of life. While there are aspects of RA that you cant control, there are things you can do to help you feel the best that you can.
Such lifestyle changes include:
When your joints are inflamed, the risk of injury to your joints and nearby soft tissue structures is high. This is why you need to rest your inflamed joints. But its still important for you to exercise. Maintaining a good range of motion in your joints and good fitness overall are important in coping with RA.
Pain and stiffness can slow you down. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis become inactive. But inactivity can lead to a loss of joint motion and loss of muscle strength. These, in turn, decrease joint stability and increase pain and fatigue.
Regular exercise can help prevent and reverse these effects. You might want to start by seeing a physical or occupational therapist for advice about how to exercise safely. Beneficial workouts include:
- Range-of-motion exercises to preserve and restore joint motion.
- Exercises to increase strength.
- Exercises to increase endurance .
What Is The Difference
Rheumatoid arthritis vs. osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are both common causes of pain and stiffness in joints. But they have different causes. In osteoarthritis, inflammation and injury break down your cartilage over time. In rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks the lining of your joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis vs. gout
Rheumatoid arthritis and gout are both painful types of arthritis. Gout symptoms include intense pain, redness, stiffness, swelling and warmth in your big toe or other joints. In gout, uric acid crystals cause inflammation. In rheumatoid arthritis, its your immune system that causes joint damage.
Reaching A Ra Diagnosis
Once all of these steps have been conducted, doctors will look at all of the test results and reach a conclusion based on the overall picture. Some doctors take a more symptom based approach to diagnosing RA while others rely on blood tests and medical history to confirm a RA diagnosis.
This is why its possible to be diagnosed with RA but not test positive for antibodies or have a medical history of RA in your family. If the symptoms themselves are consistent with RA, then it can still be diagnosed.
That being said, the main criteria for diagnosing RA do not change. The patient must exhibit symptoms for greater than six weeks, symmetrical symptoms, as well as multiple joints being affected including fingers and hands.