Forgetting To Protect Your Joints
Joint protection is an important part of any treatment program for RA. The goal is to reduce pain, prevent deformity, stabilize the joints, and reduce stress on the joints. This is accomplished through the use of splints, braces, or assistive devices exercise proper body mechanics pacing your activities and modifying your environment if necessary. Failure to protect your joints can make RA worse.
Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet
Whats your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if youve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.
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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Prevention Of Initial Onset Of Ia In Subjects Who Have Developed Ra
Moving even further back into the evolution of RA, subjects who have developed abnormalities of RA-specific autoantibodies in absence of overt IA as defined by physical examination findings of synovitis may be targeted for disease prevention. This time period of RA development is particularly attractive to target because, as discussed above, abnormalities of these biomarkers are highly predictive of the future onset of RA and therefore in clinical trials they can be used to inform subjects of their specific risks for developing RA, as well as give some indication as to the expected timing of onset of clinically apparent RA factors which are highly important in designing the duration of a clinical trial, powering the study, and recruiting subjects. In addition, immune modulation during this period of RA development may be particularly amenable to alteration because more permanent changes in inflammation such as changes in fibroblasts that render them more persistently activated may not yet have occurred.
Bos and colleagues published the results of such a trial in 2010 wherein they treated 83 anti-CCP positive subjects with arthralgias but no IA based on examination by 2 rheumatologists with 2 doses of IM 100 mg dexamethasone versus placebo. Dexamethasone reduced autoantibody titers however, it did not delay the progression to clinically apparent IA suggesting that another agent, or more sustained therapy would be necessary to prevent the development of RA.
Preventing Rheumatoid Arthritis: Can It Be Done
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet known, so it isnt possible to completely prevent RA. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints. Normally, the immune system makes antibodies to fight infections from viruses and bacteria. In autoimmune diseases, however, the immune system makes antibodies that target the body. The target of the autoimmune attack in RA is joint tissue, causing inflammation, joint pain, and irreversible joint damage.
Experts dont fully understand what triggers the autoimmune response in RA, but rheumatologists and other researchers are constantly working to increase their understanding of RA to help prevent and treat joint damage in people who have RA or who are at risk.
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Risk Factor Modification And Ra Prevention
As discussed above, multiple environmental and lifestyle-based risk factors for RA have been identified, and modifying these to prevent RA is an attractive approach, especially given the potential toxicities of pharmacologic interventions. For example, exposure to tobacco smoke is strongly associated with RA, with some estimates that it explains 30% of the risk for seropositive RA. Based on this, some have proposed that broadly-implemented programs for smoking cessation would result in a significant reduction of RA. In addition, recent attention has focused on the potential role of periodontal inflammation and infection with the organism Porphyromonas gingivalis in the pathogenesis of RA. If this relationship is truly causal, perhaps treatment of periodontal disease/infection may result in reduced risk for future RA.
You Have Another Disease Too
As if RA isnt enough to handle, you can get related conditions that cause similar symptoms. People with RA are more likely to get fibromyalgia, too. It causes chronic pain, fatigue, and tender points that mimic RA. Your doctor can diagnose fibro to be sure its the cause of your problems and suggest treatment.
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What Are The Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is usually treated with a combination of medications to relieve swelling and pain while regulating the immune system. Joint surgery to relieve pain and disability, including joint replacement, may also be considered when these nonsurgical methods have failed to provide lasting benefit.
With early detection and intervention, RA and other forms of inflammatory arthritis can be treated very effectively. The connects patients quickly and efficiently with a rheumatologist who can evaluate their joint pain and get each patient started on an appropriate course of treatment. HSS also offers specialized for people with RA.
Today, we are blessed with a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis and characteristics of RA and the availability of safe and effective medications that can alter the natural history of RA and improve function. We start with the premise that RA is eminently controllable, and the goal of our therapies is “no evidence of disease.” That means no signs of redness, warmth, swelling or tenderness and normal function. Since we would not accept uncontrolled illness in angina, chronic obstructive lung disease, hypertension or diabetes, we should similarly not accept it in RA. Luckily, today, we have the therapeutic tools to make this happen.
To Avoid Arthritis Start When Young
Osteoarthritis is a pain in our joints that well all get sooner or later, if we live long enough.
But, says one expert, you can delay it a long time if you take care of yourself, especially when youre young.
Osteoarthritis is something people should think about preventing, or at least delaying, when theyre still in their 30s and 40s, or even younger, according to Dr. Jason Theodosakis , a specialist in sports and preventive medicine, and an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
He says many people dont realize arthritis starts when theyre young, long before its joint pain emerges.
The incidence of osteoarthritis is rising rapidly, and a contributing factor is that lack of awareness of when it actually begins, Theodosakis says.
Osteoarthritis, he explained, occurs when cartilage in the knee and other joints wears away. But since there are no nerve endings in cartilage, theres no pain associated with the condition in its early stages. The pain doesnt begin until the deterioration of cartilage is fairly advanced. But once it does begin, it affects many people.
It is the No. 1 source of pain in older Americans.
Again, he stressed, its a young persons disease, too.
When we are in our 30s and 40s, our joints generally feel fine, Theodosakis observes. And arthritis isnt even on our radar. But it should be, because arthritis may already have begun to form and accelerate.
For arthritis info from the Mayo Clinic, .
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How Can I Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally
While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis , new drugs and treatments can help slow its progression and prevent it from worsening.
Learn about 17 natural remedies that can help relieve pain and stiffness and improve your quality of life.
17 ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis naturally
You Were Diagnosed Late
Your RA symptoms may be worse if you had the disease for years before you knew it. If it isnt spotted and treated early, inflammation can lead to joint pain, damage, and deformity that wont get better. Physical therapy may help you move better and ease your pain. Surgery can also replace your damaged joint with a new one.
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Your Range Of Motion Changes
Commonly, people will say their fingers dont straighten anymore or they cant bend or straighten them all the way, Dr. Wallace says. Their fingers dont necessarily hurt more, but they dont work like they used to work. Any range of motion or function changes like these can indicate rheumatoid arthritis progression, even without accompanying pain or tenderness.
Most people with active rheumatoid arthritis have a limited range of motion in the joints most affected by the disease, Dr. Wallace says. For many people, this includes the joints in their hands, which makes it hard to do everyday things, like drink coffee. A lot of people with active rheumatoid arthritis have problems with things like holding coffee cups, gripping steering wheels, chopping vegetables, things that require a tight grip, she says. This is often worse in the morning and gets worse when a person is experiencing a flare.
Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend using supportive devices, like finger splints, to correct mild deformities. In situations where you have scar tissue or your joint function is severely limited, surgery may be necessary to regain proper functioning, according to Merck Manual.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Some telltale signs that arthritis has affected your hands include swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and joint pain of your wrists, hands, and fingers.
You should see a healthcare provider when:
- Home treatments arent helping. If you have tried ice, heat therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, and rest without adequate relief, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your practitioner to determine the source of your hand symptoms.
- You have pain in multiple joints. Conditions like RA make several of your joints hurts. So, if you are experiencing pain in other joints, in addition to your hands, it is a good idea to call your healthcare provider and get in for an appointment.
- Your hand joints hurt a lot. If you have severe hand, finger, or wrist pain, this is another reason to call your practitioner.
- You have warmth and redness. Symptoms like redness and warmth are signs of inflammation in the joints and need to be checked out.
- You have gradual pain and stiffness. Any type of joint painwhether in your hands or elsewhere in your bodythat progresses slowly could be linked to an underlying medical illness
How To Reduce Your Risk Of Arthritis
Even if you cant prevent it, you might be able to lower your chances of developing some forms of arthritis.
The fact is, there is no sure way to prevent arthritis. But you can help reduce your risk and delay the potential onset of certain types of arthritis. If you have healthy joints right now, do all you can now to maintain mobility and function and avoid the pain and disability associated with arthritis.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, and each has associated risk factors, individual features, behaviors and circumstances.
Some risk factors are not modifiable, and there really isnt anything you you can do about them. Being female and having a family history of arthritis are two examples of factors that make people more likely but not certain to get some types of arthritis.
Risk factors that are considered modifiable are the behaviors and circumstances that can be changed in order to reduce risk, delay onset or even prevent arthritis. A few examples of modifiable risk factors for certain types of arthritis and related conditions:
- Osteoarthritis: Maintain a healthy weight.
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When Is A Medical Examination Necessary
Although early stages of arthritis can be treated naturally, in advanced cases, it is beneficial to visit a qualified health professional to help manage pain and other symptoms associated with arthritis. Not to say that advanced arthritis cannot be reversed or benefited by natural treatments for arthritis, but if you are in extreme pain or have a greatly reduced range of motion, a combination of natural and medical treatments can help improve your quality of life faster.
If you have any of the following symptoms, consult with a qualified health professional:
- Extreme fatigue that lasts more than a week.
- Easy bleeding and bruising.
- Shortness of breath and other breathing problems.
- Pain while urinating.
- Stiffness that doesnt fade after a couple of hours.
- Extreme pain while moving joints.
What To Expect
When you live with a long-term condition like RA that causes chronic inflammation, your body’s overactive inflammatory response can eventually damage joints, tissues, organs, and other healthy cells.
Over time, this could mean joint damage, internal scarring, tissue death, and more. RA is also linked to several other serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, kidney and lung problems, and other life-threatening illnesses.
But long-term damage to your body and disease complications are preventable. Working with your healthcare provider is the most effective way to gain control of your RA and enjoy a good quality of life.
It might take some time to find the right treatment plan for you. Treatments take some time to work, so it is crucial to stick to a treatment plan once you start it. It might take weeks or months before you see improvement.
Treating RA is a lifetime commitment. Find a rheumatologist you can trust. Don’t get discouraged if a particular drug doesn’t work or stops working. You have many options to choose from if one does work.
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What Not To Do
Taking proactive steps to prevent arthritis can have a significant impact, especially when effective chiropractic care is involved. Some common solutions being offered today are not really solutions at all. In fact, they can create even more problems in the body.
For example, it is common for people with arthritis to use drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc. to fight the pain associated with arthritis. Sadly, these drugs, known as NSAIDs, come with dangerous side effects.
According to a UK research report in the journal PAIN, patients taking NSAIDs for at least two months show a risk of death at a rate of 1 in every 1,200 patients! In addition to this risk, 1 in 5 will have ulcers, about 1 in 70 have stomach pains/symptoms and 1 in 150 have ulcers that bleed. It was concluded that NSAIDs kill 3 times as many people as cancer of the cervix.
Given this information, I hope this you will want to consider looking at more natural ways to treat arthritis. People who want to prevent arthritis or treat its symptoms long term should avoid these types of drugs.
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Dip Into Soothing Relief
As kids, we all dreaded washing dishes but when arthritis leaves your hands stiff and tired, plunging them into the warm water is no longer a chore its instant relief. But washing and scrubbing dishes may get painful. But there is another way to get that warm, soothing relief without working quite so hard for it: paraffin wax treatments. Occupational therapists use them to soothe stiff joints. Kerrie Kratzman did a paraffin treatment with her physiotherapist to help with her swan neck deformity, in which the middle joint of your fingers is bent back more than normal. I thought I had gone to heaven it felt so good, says Kratzman, of Australia. You can get a paraffin bath at home and take advantage of soothing relief anytime. Just check with your occupational therapist first for specific at-home instructions.
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