Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Lupus Vs Osteoarthritis
Lupus is another autoimmune disorder thats systematic in nature and can cause similar symptoms to rheumatoid arthritis. Like with RA, lupus can affect the nerves, blood vessels, heart, kidneys, liver and endocrine system. Symptoms of lupusare frequently mistaken for other health problems or autoimmune disorders since they also occur in flare-ups and can include achiness, fatigue, swelling, joint pain, rashes and fever.
A few differences exist between lupus and RA. One is that lupus very commonly causes a hallmark butterfly rash on the face and usually also noticeable fatigue. To help differentiate the two and make proper diagnoses, doctors use a combination of tests, including antibody blood tests, c-reactive protein tests, urine tests, medical examination and family history.
The Lupus Foundation of America points out that its also possible for someone with lupus to have rheumatoid arthritis and lupus at the same time. Doctors call this overlap. An overlap diagnosis is made when a patient meets the official criteria for two autoimmune diseases, and if this is the case it can be hard to tell which disorder causes symptoms on any given day.
How can you tell the difference between RA and osteoarthritis ?
Dietary And Botanical Supplements
When working with an RA population, fish oil is probably the most frequently mentioned supplement. The standard western diet contains a low proportion of omega-3 type essential fatty acids , which are said to have anti-inflammatory properties. Two EFAs in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acide and docosahexanoic acid . The body can actually convert EPA to DHA, but individuals vary with regard to the efficiency of that conversion. EPA and DHA can also be found in vegetable sources, such as flax and algae, respectively. In a report by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health , it was concluded that evidence for the use of fish oil for the treatment of RA is promising, as a result of several laboratory, animal and clinical studies . Some effect has been noted for symptoms such as tender joints, morning stiffness and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . What is uncertain, however, is how much of this effect is placebo, as results from randomized controlled trials are inconsistent.
Glucosamine and chondroitin.
What Is Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Fatigue is the constant feeling of weariness or overwhelming tiredness that doesnt seem to improve or change regardless of the amount of rest or sleep received. Patients may receive an adequate amount of sleep each night and still feel fatigued during the day.
Fatigue affects people physically, mentally and emotionally. When people experience fatigue they feel as though their energy has been depleted and they dont have the strength to perform daily activities.
Fatigue may come and go or worsen during certain times. The onset of the fatigue may be unpredictable and occur without warning signs or symptoms. Fatigue may not be preceded by physical activity or exertion, and it may occur in between or during flare-up episodes of RA.
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When Is Surgery Required For Ra
Surgery is reserved for RA patients whove suffered permanent joint damage leading to debilitating pain or loss of function. Nowadays, that typically only happens with very severe or undertreated cases.
There are two surgery types:
Synovectomy: This surgery removes the inflamed synovial membrane. It may be considered if the pain persists after six to 12 months of treatment. A synovectomy can be performed in the ankle, knee, hip, elbow, shoulder, wrist, or finger. Recovery varies depending on which joint was operated on, but physical therapy usually starts in a day or two.
Arthroplasty: For more significant joint damage, this surgery may reconstruct or replace the joint. Bones can be reshaped or replaced with metal, ceramic, or plastic parts. More than a million joint replacement surgeries are performed each year in the U.S., mostly of the hip or knee, but the shoulders, elbows, and rarely the joints in the hands and feet may be replaced as well. Its critical to discuss with your surgeon the types of activities you want to continue after joint replacement. This will help your doctor select the appropriate type of prosthesis and implantation technique, while giving you a deeper dive into the risks and limitations of surgery, which can include infection, blood clots, or loosening of the joint.
Which Essential Oils Work Best For Joint Pain
Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brands products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
A person can use essential oils topically or in the form of aromatherapy. However, before a person applies an essential oil to the skin, they should combine it with a carrier oil.
Some essential oils that a person can try for joint pain include:
- Turmeric oil: According to a 2016 review, turmeric may help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, but there is limited evidence.
- Ginger oil: Participants of a massaged their knees with ginger oil and noticed that it improved their movements and pain more than those who did not use this type of treatment.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriatic Arthritis
As with any other type of arthritis, the classic symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are joint pain and joint inflammation. However, those arent the only symptoms. There are five types of psoriatic arthritis. The most common types of psoriatic arthritis affect one side of the body and can involve the back and pelvis. Patients affected with rheumatoid arthritis have many of the same symptoms as psoriatic arthritis, however, rheumatoid arthritis almost always affects joints symmetrically. It shows up in the same joints on both sides of the body. That is, if one knee is inflamed, the other knee may also be inflamed.
The following list of symptoms is not meant to be exhaustive however, it covers many of the most common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. You may only suffer from one or two of the symptoms, or you may suffer from many of the symptoms listed below.
Common Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms:
- Dactylitis sausage-like fingers and toes
- Nail pitting or any type of nail changes
- Lower back pain
If you think you have psoriatic arthritis, seek a proper diagnosis from your physician. Your physician will run a series of tests, conduct bloodwork, ask about your family history, and perform a physical exam.
Is It Possible To Cure Arthritis
There is no cure for arthritis.
However, a person can opt for natural remedies alongside their medical treatment, such as yoga, skin products, and warm compresses, among others, to help manage their symptoms.
There are also workshops that help people live with this condition and learn about others experiences.
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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.
Chiropractic Care And Massage Therapy
A great addition to your arthritis care is bodywork such as chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy.
Chiropractors make small, specific adjustments to the spine and joints.
Depending on the location of the pain, these treatments can provide noticeable relief.
Chiropractors can also help with arthritis care by:
- Improving mobility and range of motion
- Improving flexibility and endurance
- Providing nutritional advice and/or supplements to reduce inflammation
Massage therapy promotes relaxation and increases circulation throughout the body.
The two best types of massage therapy for rheumatoid arthritis care are:
- Myofascial release. This style of massage therapy involves long, slow pressure on select areas to break up tight connective tissue.
- Swedish massage. This popular massage technique uses long strokes of varying pressures to ease muscular tension. Light to medium pressure is best for RA patients.
Physical And Occupational Therapy
Physical therapy helps you to restore joint function through specific exercise. This can help alleviate pain for many patients. Activities like cooking and bathing can sometimes be difficult to perform and may cause pain. Occupational therapy will help you to learn how to change some of your daily behaviors so they arent painful.
Other professional therapy services that can help alleviate pain include massage therapy and acupuncture.
Sleep Aid Herbal Supplements
- Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that plays an important role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle, among other body functions. Data from clinical trials suggests melatonin supplements may be helpful in treating sleep disorders, such as jet lag, delayed sleep disorder, and sleep problems related to shift work.33
- L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan – L-tryptophan and 5-HTP are precursors to serotonin, which can then be converted to melatonin. Research has been limited on these compounds, with clinical trials of small or limited quality, and no recommendations can be made on their efficacy.33 Increasing levels of serotonin may interact with several anti-depressant medications, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider first.
- Kava – Kava comes from the plant Piper methysticum. It has been used traditionally in the South Pacific to promote relaxation. Research has shown that kava may have a small effect on reducing anxiety, but there are safety concerns: Kava has been linked to an increased risk of severe liver disease, and heavy use is linked with heart problems and eye irritation.34
- Valerian – Valerian comes from a plant . There is limited research on valerian as a sleep aid, and results from clinical trials have been inconsistent.35
Natural Remedies To Avoid
Not every natural remedy touted to treat rheumatoid arthritis is safe or effective. For example, Dr. Rosian says supplements such as glucosamine and MSM likely dont have much of an impact.
You should also steer clear of any supplement that says its an immune booster. This sounds counterintuitive, but people should avoid immune boosters, Dr. Rosian adds. This can boost your whole immune system.While that might sound like a good thing, this has the potential for unintended bad side effects, she notes. People living with rheumatoid arthritis dont have a weak immune system. They have a dysfunctional immune system. So, itll boost the good parts of their immune system and also boost the part thats not functioning properly.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory polyarthritis, says Dr. Rosian. Your body attacks the lining of joints. Over time, this can cause the cushion around these joints to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis causes erosions, she explains. It destroys those joints. This can lead to loss of independence because you cant do things like bathing, dressing and feeding yourself.
Dr. Rosian says rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in your body. However, it most commonly affects small joints, like those in your hands and feet. Still, rheumatoid arthritis is considered a systemic illness, meaning your whole body feels its impact.
When you have strep throat, the infection is in your throat, but you feel sick all over, says Dr. Rosian. Its similar with rheumatoid arthritis. You feel unwell, almost like you have the flu. You have a fever, but dont run a temperature. Or you may lose weight.
Other common signs and symptoms include muscle stiffness in the morning, swollen joints that are hot to the touch, fatigue and pain thats symmetrical meaning it emerges in both of your hands or both of your feet.
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Topical Gels Creams And Patches
At-home remedies like rubs, heat patches, and warming creams can help alleviate your pain without the need for pharmaceuticals. Many of these products contain capsaicin, the ingredient that makes your chili peppers hot and that studies show can help ease RA pain. However, its not recommended to use these products along with an electric heating pad, as doing so could make burns more likely to occur.
Check Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D in its active state helps to quell inflammation and balance the components of the immune system so as to discourage autoimmune disease. Individuals who have RA often have low levels of vitamin D. However, once RA develops, the immune cells in the joints become less sensitive to vitamin D.25 Because both rheumatoid arthritis and vitamin D deficiency increase the risk for heart disease, one should have his/her vitamin D level checked. Any insufficiency should be corrected. Patients with active RA under steroid treatment may need supplementation with calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis and to improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.26
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Tai Chi And Yoga For Lessening Ra Symptoms
Tai chi hasnt yet been thoroughly investigated for RA and many studies that do exist were conducted before the current drugs for RA were available so its unclear if tai chi is effective for RA, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health .
With that said, tai chi, which is a form of low-impact exercise, appears to be safe to try for RA and doesnt exacerbate RA symptoms.
Though tai chi may not reduce the inflammation-related symptoms of RA, a review published in November 2016 in the journal Canadian Family Physician found that the practice may confer some benefits for depression and anxiety, lung disease, fibromyalgia, and lower back pain all issues that people with RA may also experience.
Some individual studies have found that yoga may help people living with rheumatoid arthritis by improving physical function, increasing grip strength, and reducing inflammation specifically decreasing the number of tender and swollen joints. These studies have also shown that some forms of yoga can reduce pain, disability, and fatigue, and improve health, mood, and quality of life.
And in an Indian study published in February 2019 in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers found that practicing yoga five days a week for two months can significantly decrease the severity of physical and psychological symptoms of RA.
But systematic reviews have found mixed evidence for yoga for people with RA.
Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is an autoimmune condition, which indicates that its caused by the immune system attacking its own healthy body tissues. However, what triggers this attack is still unknown.The immune system often makes antibodies that attack viruses and bacteria, helping to fight infection. However, if you have RA, your immune system mistakenly sends antibodies to your joints lining, where the tissues surrounding the joints are attacked.This causes the synovium covering your joints to become inflamed and sore, releasing chemicals that destroy nearby:
- ligaments: the tissue connecting the cartilage and bone
- tendons: the tissue connecting the bone to the muscle
- cartilage: the stretchy connecting tissue between bones
When the RA is not treated, these chemicals begin to cause the joint to lose alignment and shape over time. Eventually, the chemicals can completely destroy the joint. Various reasons why the immune system attacks the joints have been suggested, including an infection serving as a trigger, but none of the theories has been proven to be true.
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Exercises And Physical Therapy
One of the main proven treatments to reverse rheumatoid arthritis is exercises and physical therapy. Its safe and effective when done properly, and under the supervision of a physical therapist. It can build up your strength to help you better control and manage your joint or muscle pain.
Physical therapy can be active or passive and both kinds can help ease any flare-ups. Passive therapy is when someone else, such as a therapist, does most of the work, as in massage. Active therapy is when you do most of the work such as in muscle-strengthening exercises.
Remember, though, that its important that you to talk to your rheumatologist before starting such treatments to reverse rheumatoid arthritis.
Gentle exercises, such as walking, swimming or yoga, can be beneficial in alleviating pain and building up your muscle strength. Exercise helps deliver oxygen to the joints, brain, and muscles and has the added advantage of making you feel good.
As with any physical therapy, talk to your doctor first to ensure that you dont do yourself any harm.