Leading A Sedentary Lifestyle
Regular physical activity is necessary for everyone, including people with RA, and there are numerous health benefits associated with it. Improved muscle strength, as well as better bone and joint health, is essential for people with RA. Rest is also needed, to restore the body from the episodes of intense pain and fatigue that are characteristic of RA. But rest cant become a way of life striking a balance between rest and activity is optimal. A sedentary lifestyle actually does the opposite of what you want, leading to increased pain, fatigue, and weakness.
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.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs: Biologic Response Modifiers
Biologic response modifiers are a type of DMARD. They target the part of the immune system response that leads to inflammation and joint damage. By doing this, they can improve your condition and help relieve symptoms.
These RA medications can’t cure rheumatoid arthritis. If the drugs are stopped, symptoms may return. But just as with other DMARDs, biologic response modifiers may slow the progression of the disease or help put it into remission. If your doctor prescribes one of these RA drugs, you will likely take it in combination with methotrexate. Biologic response modifiers are taken by injection and/or by IV and are expensive. Their long-term effects are unknown.
NOTE: Before taking biologics, it’s important to get appropriate vaccinations and to be tested for tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C.
Examples of biologic response modifiers:
|â¢ Redness at the injection site|
Recommended Reading: Is Heat Or Ice Better For Arthritis Pain
Use A Supportive Device
People with arthritis will often avoid walking aids, which may make them feel old and frail. But the fact is that people who do so often walk less because they are either unsteady on their feet or afraid to place weight on a swollen joint. As such, avoiding these devices can make your condition worse.
Supportive devices are no longer limited to canes and walkers. People with knee arthritis can sometimes turn to a device known as an unloader brace, which selectively relieves pressure on the most damaged side of a joint. There are even rolling walkers that allow you to move more freely without the fits and starts of a standard walker.
While these newer devices won’t work for everyone, it may be worth speaking to your healthcare provider to see if they are the appropriate choice for you.
Medical Management Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Medical management usually involves a combination of more than one treatment modality. The treatment options are:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs : NSAIDs can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Steroids: Corticosteroid medications suppress the immune system, reduce inflammation and pain, and delay joint damage.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs : These drugs are extremely effective in the treatment of RA. They suppress internal swelling and relieve symptoms. They can slow the progression and prevent joint deformities and other complications. Some commonly prescribed DMARDs are Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, and Hydroxychloroquine.
- Biological modifiers: These are a newer generation of DMARDs, and they are usually taken with DMARDs to suppress inflammation. Some examples are Infliximab, Rituximab, etc.
Also Check: Is Ginger Root Good For Arthritis
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.
Medications That Slow The Progression Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Medications that slow the progression of RA can help reduce your symptoms while preventing joint damage and disability. Options include:
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs . DMARDs help prevent joint damage and are normally part of the initial treatment of RA. It can take a few months to feel the full effects of a DMARD, and you and your doctor might need to try a couple of options before you find the right one for you. Common DMARDs include methotrexate, leflunomide , hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine .
- Biologic treatments. Biologic treatments are given by injection and usually in combination with a DMARD when DMARDs have not been effective on their own. Biologic treatments are a newer form of treatment that can prevent your immune system from attacking your joints. Common biologic treatments include etanercept and infliximab .
- JAK inhibitors are a new type of DMARD that can be helpful for people who cant take traditional DMARDs or who didnt see improvements from traditional DMARDs. Common JAK inhibitors include tofacitinib and baricitinib .
You May Like: Does Salt Make Arthritis Worse
Surgery And Other Procedures
If a joint is severely affected, you may need surgery. The most successful surgeries are those on the knees and hips.
Sometimes people with RA need total joint replacement with an artificial joint. Surgeries may relieve pain, correct deformities, and modestly improve joint function. In some cases, total knee or hip replacement can restore mobility and improve quality of life.
Who Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis
Diagnosing and treating rheumatoid arthritis requires a team effort involving you and several types of health care professionals. These may include:
- Rheumatologists, who specialize in arthritis and other diseases of the bones, joints, and muscles.
- Primary care providers, such as internists, who specialize in the diagnosis and medical treatment of adults.
- Orthopaedists, who specialize in the treatment of and surgery for bone and joint diseases or injuries.
- Physical therapists, who help to improve joint function.
- Occupational therapists, who teach ways to protect joints, minimize pain, perform activities of daily living, and conserve energy.
- Dietitians, who teach ways to eat a good diet to improve health and maintain a healthy weight.
- Nurse educators, who specialize in helping people understand their overall condition and set up their treatment plans.
- Mental health professionals, who help people cope with difficulties.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Arthritis In Your Back
Consider Getting Tested For Sleep Apnea
In addition to making changes to your sleep routine, you may also want to talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder that can affect your breathing. Sleep apnea can leave you feeling exhausted even after a full nights sleep. People with RA are more likely to have sleep apnea.1,2 This difference seems to exist even when a flare is over and inflammation levels are low.3
Exercises To Relieve Arthritis
The following exercises increase blood flow to cartilage, bringing it the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and prevent further breakdown. Consult your healthcare provider before starting these exercises to make sure theyre appropriate for you.
If so, the exercises are easy to do and can ease your arthritis pain:
The stronger your muscles are, the more weight they will be able to handle. Like other types of exercise, hand exercises won’t “work” overnight. But they should with time and repetition.
You May Like: How To Treat Arthritis Flare Up In Knee
Alleviate Pain With These Simple Treatments
Arthritis in the fingers can be quite uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms make hand motions like grasping and pinching difficult and can interfere with a persons ability to perform everyday tasks.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two types of arthritis that most commonly affect the finger joints. Depending on which type of arthritis affects your finger joints, you may experience additional symptoms.
Numerous remedies can help ease the discomfort from arthritis of the fingers, from hand exercises to help strengthen your fingers to over-the-counter and prescription pain medications and surgical treatments. This article explores these remedies after explaining the symptoms of arthritis.
Verywell / Theresa Chiechi
Symptoms caused by arthritis of the fingers include:
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
In OA, joint pain is caused by the breakdown of cartilage, the tissue that cushions the joints. The three most common sites where osteoarthritis happens in the hand include:
- The trapeziometacarpal or basilar joint, or the base of the thumb
- The distal interphalangeal joint, or the joint closest to the fingertip
- The proximal interphalangeal joint, or the middle joint of a finger
Survival Tips For Managing An Ra Flare
A rheumatoid arthritis flare-up, or flare, can cause joint pain and swelling, fatigue, and anxiety. Thankfully, certain coping strategies can help you manage symptoms and perhaps even shorten the length of the flare, so you can get back to your normal routine as soon as possible.
Below are 15 tips for managing the symptoms of an RA flare-up at home. These suggestions are meant to be used in addition to the treatment plan recommended by your physician.
Recommended Reading: How To Soothe Arthritis Pain
How Can I Slow The Progression Of Arthritis
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Social And Emotional Support
One of the most important tools for managing a chronic condition like RA is support. It can make a big difference in your treatment to have a doctor and other medical staff you feel comfortable with as part of your care team. Support from friends and family can also help you get through flare-ups and challenging days.
It can also be helpful to connect with other people living with RA. A support group can give you a place to share struggles and triumphs with people in a similar situation. To find an RA support group, check out:
- MyRAteam.MyRAteam is an online social network and support system for people with RA.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Support. Rheumatoid Arthritis Support is an online forum where you can connect with other people with RA.
- Live Yes! Connect Groups. Offered by the Arthritis Foundation, Live Yes! Connect Groups are online support groups for people with RA.
- Arthritis Introspective. Arthritis Introspective is focused on young and middle-aged adults living with rheumatoid and other forms of arthritis. You can find an Arthritis Introspective support group in your area using their locator service.
Don’t Miss: Can You Heal Rheumatoid Arthritis
Whats The Normal Sed Rate For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sed rate is a blood test that helps detect inflammation in your body. Your healthcare provider may also use this test to watch how your RA progresses. Normal sed rates are as follows:
|People designated male at birth||Erythrocyte sedimentation rate|
|> 50 years old||30 mm/hr|
In rheumatoid arthritis, your sed rate is likely higher than normal. To take part in clinical trials related to rheumatoid arthritis, you usually need an ESR of 28 mm/hr. With treatment, your sed rate may decrease. If you reach the normal ranges listed above, you may be in remission.
Learn To Recognize Flare
People with RA often alternate between bouts of increased disease activity, called flares, and periods when their pain and swelling goes down or even disappears, called remission.
During a flare, your regular medications may not seem to be working and you may feel worn out, sensitive, or just plain crummy. Flares may be triggered by many things, including:
- Infection or illness
Flare-ups can be disruptive. By staying in tune with your body and keeping an eye out for possible triggers, you can recognize a flare as quickly as possible. âPatients usually remember the first time they the disease,â Meysami says. âThe flare-ups usually resemble the first attack.â
This might include feeling more tired. You may feel that familiar joint pain or stiffness, most commonly in your hands or feet. â wake up in the morning, put their foot down, and feel like theyâre walking on glass,â Meysami says.
Some people notice swelling or weakness in their joints, he says. âLook at how strongly you can hold your coffee mug. If you canât hold it tight, that could be a sign that your joints are swollen and inflamed.â
Unfortunately, Sammut says, predicting flares is not easy. âWith rheumatoid arthritis, every patient has their own disease,â she says. âItâs just so variable how people will present with flares.â For an individual person, however, your pain often looks similar from one flare to the next.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Different Types Of Arthritis In The Spine
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Sooner The Better
Treating rheumatoid arthritis early is critical for staving off its progression. Rheumatoid, if left untreated, can destroy the joints very quickly, Dr. DeLorenzo points out. Also, the chronic inflammation from the immune system can cause other issues, like heart disease or lung disease.
If you are experiencing arthritic symptoms, Dr. DeLorenzo says to visit your primary care doctor first, to see if they can give you a definite diagnosis. From there, if your doctor thinks you have rheumatoid arthritis, you will be sent to a rheumatologist, who will recommend:
- Regular exercise
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications
You will likely also be put on disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs to halt the progression of the disease.
Medications To Reduce The Inflammation And Pain Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Many people with RA also take medications to help manage pain. You might take these medications temporarily, during a flare-up, or every day depending on your condition and the treatment plan you discuss with your doctor. Pain-relieving options include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . NSAIDs reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Your doctor might recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, or might prescribe stronger NSAIDs.
- COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 inhibitors, such as celecoxib , also reduce inflammation and pain. Theyre intended to have fewer side effects and be safer for daily use than NSAIDs.
- Steroids.Steroids can reduce inflammation and help relieve pain. You can take steroids as an injection or tablet. Steroids can have serious side effects and are only meant for short-term use.
- help you adapt your movements
Also Check: What Blood Test Is For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Individual Food Items In Diet And Their Relevance To Ra
In an average diet comprising of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are several food items which are rich source of some phytochemicals and their efficacy in eradication of diseases has been known and is included under traditional medicines on which 80% of the world population relies . Food items such as dietary fibers, cooking oil, polyphenols, bioactive compounds from several herbs and beverages like tea are among the cheapest sources of medication however, their bioavailability has always been a matter of concern.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The joints most often affected by RA are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows. The disease often causes inflammation in the same areas on both sides of the body. Symptoms may begin suddenly or slowly over time. Each persons symptoms may vary, and may include:
These symptoms can seem like other health conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Read Also: How To Know If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Nutritional Supplements And Dietary Changes
There’s no strong evidence to suggest that specific dietary changes can improve rheumatoid arthritis, although some people with rheumatoid arthritis feel their symptoms get worse after they have eaten certain foods.
If you think this may be the case for you, it may be useful to try avoiding problematic foods for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve.
But it’s important to ensure your overall diet is still healthy and balanced. A Mediterranean-style diet, which is based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil, is recommended.
There’s also little evidence supporting the use of supplements in rheumatoid arthritis, although some can be useful in preventing side effects of medicines you may be taking.
There’s some evidence to suggest that taking fish oil supplements may help reduce joint pain and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
- National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society : diet and rheumatoid arthritis
Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019 Next review due: 28 August 2022