Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Prevented
There is no consensus among researchers on the causes of rheumatoid arthritis. It is known to be an autoimmune disease, so it occurs when the immune system attacks itself. Being a woman and adopting harmful habits during pregnancy increases predisposition, as does family history.
However, we cannot say that rheumatoid arthritis can be prevented. Not completely, at least. This is because there are some variables that cannot be managed.
However, scientists have identified several risk factors associated with the disorder. Some of them are editable. Therefore, you can lower your chances of developing the disease by avoiding modifiable risk factors.
Does Arthritis Affect Women More Often Than Men
Arthritis does affect women more frequently than men. More than 46 million Americans are living with arthritis, and 61 percent of them are women. That means about 28 million women are affected by arthritis in the United States.
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects more women than men in the United States. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center says RA is two to three more times prevalent in women compared to men. Researchers believe hormonal differences between women and men may explain part of the reason.
The good news is there are some steps women can take to try to prevent osteoarthritis. They include:
- Lose weight to reduce pressure being put on knee and hip joints
- Do low-impact exercises to avoid wearing down the cartilage in joints
- Leave high heels in the closet to avoid the pressure they put on ankle joints
- When lifting objects, lift with your legs instead of your back to relieve stress on joints
- Maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D to slow the progression of arthritis
- Stay hydrated to keep cartilage lubricated and functioning smoothly
Four Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Arthritis
02 November 2015
While theres no surefire way to prevent arthritis from affecting you, there are ways you can reduce your risk and delay the potential onset. If youre lucky enough to have healthy joints right now, you should do all you can to avoid the pain that comes with arthritis.
There are some causes of arthritis that you cant change such as aging, family history, and gender . There are over 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, and changing certain behaviors and circumstances can help prevent various types of arthritis.
Continue reading to learn more about what you can do now to reduce your risk of developing arthritis later.
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Stop Ignoring Your Physical Limitations
Just as there are people with arthritis who aren’t active at all, there are those who push beyond their limits. The trick is to pace your activities. Overdoing it is just as harmful as underdoing it.
Pushing your limits can increase pain and put you at higher risk of joint damage. Respect pain and choose activities with your physical limitations in mind.
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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Eat Foods And Supplements That Fight Arthritis
In addition to eating healthy foods to promote a healthy weight, there are also a variety of foods that directly reduce inflammation in the body and may prevent the progression of arthritis. These nutrients include:
Vitamin B5: Some studies have indicated that individuals with RA are lower in vitamin B5 than individuals without RA. In 1980, a small study was conducted on patients with RA and found that individuals who took 2,000 MG daily of vitamin B5 had improved symptoms of RA.
MSM: MSM contains organic sulfur which is used to form connective tissue in the joints. It also has analgesic properties that lessen nerve impulses transmitting pain, which works to reduce pain felt from RA symptoms.
Fish Oil: Fish oil contains high levels of the anti-inflammatory ingredient, Omega-3.
Vitamin E: According to the University of Maryland, vitamin E supplements have been linked with a reduction in the pain of RA symptoms. Vitamin E does not reduce inflammation, but it can help manage pain.
GLA: This fat has been linked with a reduction of inflammation throughout the body, according to Arthritis Today.
Turmeric and Garlic: Turmeric and garlic are two well-studied herbs that can reduce inflammation throughout the body. Raw garlic was shown to have the most benefit, but powdered turmeric appears to be as effective as fresh.
Cats Claw: Arthritis Today states that Cats Claw has anti-inflammatory properties and can help lessen the symptoms of RA.
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.
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Tips For Preventing Arthritis
There is no known cure for arthritis. In fact, most treatments for arthritis are aimed at early recognition and prevention. Genetics can increase your likelihood for developing arthritis, as can a strong family history of the disease. Women are also more prone to arthritis than men.
You may try to prevent arthritis and still develop the disease. However, you can take actions to reduce your risk:
- Maintain a healthy weight. This can help to fight off OA.
- Dont smoke, or quit smoking. This may reduce your chance of developing RA.
- Try to avoid injury when playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
- If your job requires a lot of pushing, pulling, or lifting of heavy objects, take precautions to avoid injury to your joints.
- If your job calls for a lot of typing, practice good posture. If necessary, get a special keyboard, wrist cushion, or pad.
Can Osteoarthritis Progression Be Stopped
Get advice for managing osteoarthritis, even if you can’t stop its progression.
Question: Four years ago, I was diagnosed withosteoarthritis in my right ankle. Now X-rays show OA in my spine, neck, knuckles, wrists and knees. Can you tell me what caused OA to spread this way, and is there anything I can do to stop it? Answer:
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How Can I Prevent Arthritis In My Feet
Although it may be impossible to prevent arthritis from developing, the conditions that lead to it can be corrected. For instance, if you have osteoarthritis, correcting any faulty mechanics that lead to the joint not moving properly may prevent further joint damage.
Wearing proper footwear or custom orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist will ensure that the foot and ankle joints are properly aligned. If you have a rheumatic disease, such as gout, controlling your uric acid level can reduce the incidence of the associated arthritis.
What Foods Help Prevent Arthritis
There is no dietary cure for arthritis. Establishing healthy habits are your best bets for trying to prevent the disease. Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of the plan. Try to eat foods that fight inflammation in our bodies and strengthen our bones.
The United States Department of Agriculture suggests eating fish that contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. These include salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines. The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating these fish two or more times a week to reduce inflammation.
The Arthritis Foundation says berries provide arthritis-fighting power. It recommends eating:
The Arthritis Foundation also suggests eating pomegranate fruit because the tannins inside also minimize inflammation in our bodies.
Eating vegetables that lead to less inflammation can also help. Try adding regular servings of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms to your diet. Leave the vegetable or corn oil in the pantry and instead use olive oil and canola oil. They both contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
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I Avoid Alcohol And Tobacco
There are more than 100 types of arthritis and joint-related conditions. Some risk factors are not modifiable , but there are a few things you can do to lessen your risk. Not smoking reduces the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis while eating a low-purine diet and avoiding alcohol reduces the risk of developing gouttwo of the most common types of arthritis. Don R. Martin, MD, a rheumatologist with Sentara RMH Rheumatology, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Why Is Exercise Important To Prevent Arthritis
Regular exercise is one of the most important strategies to try to prevent arthritis. Exercise can help keep your weight down, which reduces stress on your joints. The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center reports being only ten pounds overweight increases the force on the knee by 30- 60 pounds with each step.
Exercise also strengthens the muscles around joints, helping to reduce wear on the muscles and joints. Regular physical activity also stretches our tendons and ligaments to maintain flexibility. Cartilage is like a rubbery cushion in a joint, and it gets lubricated when we move that joint. Regular exercise keeps components of our joints lubricated and flexible, helping to reduce pain.
Your exercise routine can include the following low-impact aerobic activities:
All of these activities can boost your heart rate while avoiding the stress on your joints caused by high-impact exercises that involve running and jumping.
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Keep Up With Daily Hand Exercises
Kratzman wax treatments worked so well they enabled her to do a series of hand exercises from her physiotherapist five times a day. My hands have improved immensely, she says. My hands felt stronger and I noticed I wasnt dropping as many dishes, could do housework easier, and other things like getting dressed and brushing my teeth and hair were all easier, says Kratzman. If you havent yet seen an occupational therapist, ask your doctor about a referral. You can also check out these hand exercises, though its best to follow a specific routine from an expert who can tailor to your specific needs.
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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How Is Arthritis In Feet Treated
A diagnosis of arthritis does not necessarily mean that your quality of life will decrease. By seeking treatment early and taking an active role in the management of your arthritis, you can control the pain and limit damage to your joints.
Left untreated, however, arthritis can eventually lead to foot and ankle deformities.
A treatment regimen for arthritis in the foot or feet may include nonsurgical therapies and/or surgery. There are many nonsurgical treatment options, and they are often used in combination with one another. These can be divided into three categories:
- A brace or a cane
Physical and complementary medicine
- Physical therapy and gentle exercises
- Acupuncture or massage at and around affected joints
- Application of a heating pad or a damp, warm towel to affected joints
- Weight control
For many types of arthritis, aspirin is used as the first-line treatment, and its success or failure can help guide other therapeutic interventions. Treatment can control inflammation and preserve or restore joint function.
Surgical intervention may be considered as a last resort if the arthritis does not respond to nonsurgical interventions.
The choice of surgery depends on the type of arthritis you have, its impact on the joints, and its location. More than one surgery may be needed. Surgeries used to treat arthritis in the feet include:
- Arthroscopic debridement
- Arthrodesis or fusion
- Arthroplasty or joint replacement
Stop Withholding Info From Your Healthcare Provider
It’s tempting not to tell your healthcare provider everything, especially if you’re afraid you’ll have to go through unpleasant testing or have to change the treatment regimen you’re comfortable with.
But in order for your healthcare provider to have the best chance of helping you, he needs to know everything. Talk openly about what makes your condition better or worse, what concerns you have, and what you don’t understand.
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How To Prevent Arthritis
Genetic factors that play a role in the development of arthritis are not preventable you are more likely to develop the disease if you are female and there is a history of arthritis in your family. But theres good news. Even if you have a genetic predisposition, lifestyle changes can help delay the onset of arthritis or prevent you from developing it at all.
There are three major ways to prevent or delay the onset of arthritis:
These are the specific lifestyle changes you can make today to protect your joints cartilage, reduce inflammation and prevent yourself from developing the other diseases associated with arthritis:
What Can You Do To Prevent Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Some 23% of all adults in the U.S., more than 54 million people, have arthritis. The annual direct medical costs are at least $140 billion. The disease affects senior citizens, working-age adults and even children, with 300,000 children under the age of 18 diagnosed with the condition.
The pain from arthritis can make simple daily tasks, such as walking and opening doors, seem nearly impossible. It can also limit the type of job tasks working-age patients with arthritis can perform. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 8 million working-age adults report their arthritis limits their ability to work.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to try to prevent the pain and limited range of motion arthritis can cause.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight by exercising and choosing healthy food reduces your chances of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes and arthritis.
Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces the amount of pressure youre carrying on your knees. The more pressure on your knees, the more pressure on your knees cartilage. Once that cartilage breaks down, you face some tough decisions about how to deal with chronic knee pain.
Arthritis Risks And Complications That May Develop
In most cases, arthritis cannot be cured and the disease will continue to progress. Even with the best of treatment, arthritis of the foot and ankle may continue to cause you pain or require you to limit your activities.
Severe disability from arthritis is rare, however, and usually seen in persons with rheumatoid arthritis.
Frequent use of anti-inflammatory medications is known to cause gastrointestinal upset. People with rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk for complications, such as peripheral neuropathy, infection, and skin or muscle problems.
Can I Claim Benefits If I Have Arthritis
There are a number of benefits and grants you may be able to claim if you have arthritis.
Benefits for mobility problems
If you’re over State Pension age and you need help with your personal care, such as washing, dressing and going to the toilet, because of your symptoms of arthritis, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance.
Disabled Facilities Grants
You may be eligible for financial support for home adaptations to help you manage better. This could include installing ramps and handrails, and getting specialist equipment to help you in the kitchen or bathroom.
If you have a friend or family member who looks after you for at least 35 hours a week, they may be able to claim Carers Allowance.