Ra And Your Risk Of Covid
RA raises your chances of getting any kind of infection. You’re also more likely to end up in the hospital when you get sick. Your illness is likely to be more serious when your RA is active. You may hear that called a flare.
You may also have other health problems along with RA. Some that can make it harder to fight off an infection like COVID-19 include:
There’s also some evidence that respiratory infections spread by viruses, like COVID-19, may raise the risk of getting RA. One study showed that women and older people who’d had other kinds of coronaviruses were more likely to get RA after they’d been sick. But more research is needed to know whether COVID-19 can actually trigger RA.
What Are Food Allergies
Food allergies are when the immune system mistakes a protein in food as harmful. To fight the perceived threat, it releases antibodies called immunoglobulin E . The next time you eat the food, these antibodies trigger the release of histamine, a powerful chemical that causes allergy symptoms. These can range from belly pain, hives, or tingling in your mouth to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms usually appear right after eating.
Food allergies are much more common in infants and children than adults. About 1 percent of adults have food allergies compared to 7 percent of kids, though the number of kids with allergies is on the rise. And while food allergies usually start early in life, you can form one when youâre older.
These nine foods cause most food allergies:
Spinal Arthritis: What You Need To Know
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect the spine.
Arthritis can occur anywhere along the spine, but is more frequent in the lower back and neck.
Pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of spinal arthritis.
Causes of spinal arthritis are still largely unknown except for osteoarthritis, which is typically a result of wear and tear.
Spinal arthritis treatment may include pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy and surgery in severe cases.
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Other Conditions And Joint Pain
Other forms of arthritis, and other conditions, can also cause joint pain. Examples include:
- fibromyalgia syndrome, a condition in which your brain processes pain in your muscles and joints in a way that amplifies your perception of the pain
- scleroderma, an autoimmune condition in which inflammation and hardening in your skin connective tissues can lead to organ damage and joint pain
How Is Arthritis Of The Knee Treated
Healthcare providers can’t cure knee arthritis. But they have some tips that might reduce the severity of your symptoms and possibly stop the arthritis from getting worse, including:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise using low-impact activities instead of high-impact activities . Aim for about 150 minutes of exercise per week.
- Wear shock-absorbing inserts in your shoes.
- Apply heat or ice to the area.
- Wear a knee sleeve or brace.
- Physical therapy exercises that help with flexibility, strength and motion.
Read Also: How Do You Determine If You Have Arthritis
Early Stage Signs And Symptoms
A person can develop RA at any stage in their life. However, the condition most commonly develops between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.
People with early stage RA may not see redness and swelling in their joints. However, they may experience some joint tenderness and pain. A general feeling of stiffness throughout the body in the morning may suggest a person has RA.
Someone with early stage RA may also experience fatigue. Fatigue can be both mental and physical and can cause a person to feel extremely tired, preventing them from performing their usual daily tasks.
The inflammation that comes with RA may cause a person to develop a fever. A person has a fever if their body temperature rises above the typical range of 98100°F . Fever is a common sign of inflammation in people with autoimmune diseases.
A person may also experience weight loss due to the inflammation from RA. In addition, someone with fatigue and fever may experience appetite loss, which can contribute to weight loss.
As the inflammatory process of RA progresses, symptoms can worsen. A person may experience more extreme fatigue and continue to have fevers and lose weight.
Common symptoms of RA include the below.
Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
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What Are The Parts Of A Joint
Joints get cushioned and supported by soft tissues that prevent your bones from rubbing against each other. A connective tissue called articular cartilage plays a key role. It helps your joints move smoothly without friction or pain.
Some joints have a synovial membrane, a padded pocket of fluid that lubricates the joints. Many joints, such as your knees, get supported by tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to your bones, while ligaments connect bones to other bones.
What Are The Risk Factors For Arthritis
Some factors make you more likely to develop arthritis, including:
- Age: The risk of arthritis increases as you get older.
- Lifestyle: Smoking or a lack of exercise can increase your risk of arthritis.
- Sex: Most types of arthritis are more common in women.
- Weight: Obesity puts extra strain on your joints, which can lead to arthritis.
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Deformities Of The Knee
The appearance of the knee can change during a flare and as damage progresses.
In RA, swelling and redness are common during a flare. In the long term, persistent inflammation can result in permanent damage to the cartilage and the tendons. This can affect the shape and appearance of the knee.
With OA, the muscles around the knee can weaken, resulting in a sunken appearance. The knees can start to point toward each other or bend outward.
Knee deformities range from barely noticeable to severe and debilitating.
Treatment will depend on the type of arthritis a person has.
Common Types Of Arthritis
Commonly associated with older age, arthritis affects more than 50 million Americans, including more than 300,000 children each year. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. Depending on the type, it can be extremely painful and affect everyday activities or go relatively unnoticed and be easily managed for years.
Simply put, arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. Most individuals experience common symptoms like joint pain, swelling, stiffness and/or decreased range of motion.
Here are 5 of the most common types of arthritis:
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Get A Professional Diagnosis
Although these symptoms are all present with arthritis, they dont definitively diagnose you. Only a trained medical professional like Dr. Kimes can do that. He uses X-rays and CT scans to either pinpoint your arthritis or rule it out.
If you dont have arthritis, he gets to the bottom of your pain and other symptoms so he can identify and treat the underlying cause.
What Is Arthritis Of The Knee
Arthritis is a disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in your joints. It can affect the largest and strongest joints in your body. Its common in knees. Arthritis of the knee can be a serious, debilitating disease.
Although there is no cure for knee arthritis, there are steps you can take that might ease your symptoms and potentially slow the progression of your disease.
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How Do I Know If I Have Food Allergies Or Sensitivities
Itâs hard to miss a food allergy. Symptoms are sudden and often severe. Sensitivities are harder to track and may involve some trial and error. Your doctor may ask you to keep a food diary, where you note what you eat and when you have symptoms. This can help you spot the foods you might need to avoid. Itâs also the first step in another approach called an elimination diet.
With this diet, you stop eating all sensitive foods for at least 2 weeks. If your symptoms donât improve, you follow the diet for another 2 weeks. Once you go 5 days without symptoms, you start to add problem foods back into your diet, one at a time. If your symptoms flare, you limit or cut out the food completely. You may be sensitive to more than one food. An elimination diet can show you which ones. Then you can work with your doctor to make a long-term eating plan you enjoy and can stick to.
The elimination diet isnât perfect and doesnât work for everyone. Still, itâs a good way to zero in on foods that affect you. Thirty to 40% of people with RA feel much better when they cut sensitive foods from their diet. Some have even been able to stop their medications.
Clinical Rheumatology: âDiet and disease symptoms in rheumatic diseases â Results of a questionnaire-based survey.â
Frontiers in Nutrition: âNutrition Interventions in Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Potential Use of Plant-Based Diets. A Review.â
Mayo Clinic: âFood Allergy,â âAlcohol Intolerance.â
Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .
Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis , which tends to be symmetrical, meaning you’ll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.
The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, it’s caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. OA is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.
Here are some early arthritis symptoms that should prompt you to see a medical provider.
1. Pain in a joint. Pain or aching in a joint that gradually becomes worse over time is a classic symptom of arthritis, says Lisa Cannada, M.D., an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. The pain may be triggered by activity, or it may set in after activity or at the end of a long day.
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Joint Pain And Stiffness
most common symptom of RA. The persons joints may become red, warm, swollen, and tender to touch.
Joint stiffness is often at its worst in the morning. It can last for several hours or the entire day, depending on the severity of the disease.
RA tends to cause pain and stiffness in the hands and feet first. However, a person may experience these symptoms in the knees or shoulders.
RA will often affect both sides of a persons body. In fact, finding symmetrical symptoms across the joints is key to how doctors diagnose RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Hip
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease resulting from the immune system attacking healthy tissue in the joints, including the hip. It causes inflammation of the synovial membrane, the capsule surrounding the hip joint. Inflammatory cells release substances that break down hip cartilage over time. RA typically affects smaller joints such as the wrist and fingers first, and may not be noticeable in the hip until it causes symptoms.
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How Is Spinal Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:
Medical history and physical exam
Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies
X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint
MRI, CT scan, myelography, bone scan and/or ultrasound to zero in on the damage, detect nerve and spinal cord involvement or rule out other causes
Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint
To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away.
Pain Isnt Just Physical Its Emotional Too
While painful warning signals are sent through your body, the emotional impact shouldnt be overlooked. Arthritis flare-ups can get so bad that they force you to cancel plans with loved ones. This stress may affect your social life and lower your overall quality of life, too. While these are understandable emotions, theyve also been shown to make pain harder to handle.5 Add uncertainty over when arthritis pain will return, and depression can kick inbut not all is doom and gloom. Once you identify these symptoms, you can find better ways to alleviate pain and get moving again. Were here to help you along every step of the way.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
- Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. Web.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
- Mayo Clinic. Web.
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What To Do If You Get Sick
Most cases of COVID-19 are mild. So you may be able to get better at home. But there are certain symptoms to watch out for. The main ones are:
Free COVID testing is available in most communities. Some locations require an appointment while others are drive-up. Check with your local health department about testing availability.
You may not get a fever, even if you’re sick, when you’re taking steroids, NSAIDs, or an immunosuppressant. Tell your doctor or rheumatologist if you have any of the above symptoms. They’ll decide if you need to make any changes to your medicine or go to the hospital.
Your doctor may delay or stop certain treatment while you’re sick. That includes biologics and DMARDs. If you’re on steroids, they may lower your dose.
if you have:
- A really hard time breathing
- Constant chest pain or pressure
- A new kind of confusion
- A blue tint to your lips and face
Michael Angarone, DO, assistant professor of infectious diseases and medical education, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Autoimmunity Reviews: “COVID-19 infection and rheumatoid arthritis: Faraway, so close!”
American College of Rheumatology: “ACR Updates: COVID-19.”
Arthritis Research & Therapy: “Respiratory viral infections and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.”
FDA: “FDA advises patients on use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for COVID-19.”
Hospital for Special Surgery: “What to Know About Rheumatic Disease and the COVID-19 Coronavirus.”
How To Stay Safe
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you against the virus. You’ve probably also heard this a lot. But if you are unvaccinated, wear a face mask.Ã Wash your hands often.They are the best ways to protect you from germs:
- Scrub up for 20 seconds.
- Keep count by singing the “Happy Birthday” song, twice.
- Use regular soap and either cold or warm water.
- If those aren’t around, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is the next best thing.
Make sure you clean every part of your hands. That includes under your fingernails, the back of your hands, and in between your fingers and thumbs.
If you have active RA or take an autoimmune drug, you should also:
- Keep away from people, especially big groups .
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Have someone else do your grocery runs.
- Avoid close contact with others .
- Wear a face mask when you have to go out.
- Disinfect surfaces people touch a lot.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Get a 2- to 4-week supply of medicine, if possible.
You can help your immune system by preventing infections from other diseases. Talk to your doctor about vaccines for things like the flu, pneumonia, whooping cough, and shingles.
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