Why Does The Heat Affect Arthritis
Our joints have sensory nerves that respond to changes in temperature. When the temperature and humidity levels go up, the joints fluid levels can increase and result in increased inflammation, pain, and discomfort. You may also experience stiffness or laxity in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, making it difficult to move around.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis
There is no single test that shows whether you have RA. Your doctor will give you a checkup, ask you about your symptoms, and possibly perform X-rays and blood tests.
Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed from a combination of things, including:
- The location and symmetry of painful joints, especially the hand joints
- Joint stiffness in the morning
- Bumps and nodules under the skin
- Results of X-rays and blood tests
How Does It Affect Your Body
Immune system cells move from the blood into your joints and the tissue that lines them. This is called the synovium. Once the cells arrive, they create inflammation. This makes your joint swell as fluid builds up inside it. Your joints become painful, swollen, and warm to the touch.
Over time, the inflammation wears down the cartilage, a cushy layer of tissue that covers the ends of your bones. As you lose cartilage, the space between your bones narrows. As time goes on, they could rub against each other or move out of place. The cells that cause inflammation also make substances that damage your bones.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are several risk factors for developing rheumatoid arthritis. These include:
- Family history: Youre more likely to develop RA if you have a close relative who also has it.
- Sex: Women and people designated female at birth are two to three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
- Smoking:Smoking increases a persons risk of rheumatoid arthritis and makes the disease worse.
- Obesity: Your chances of developing RA are higher if you have obesity.
Does Where I Live Matter
If damp cold weather exacerbates pain, you may wonder why not move to where the weather is milder, warmer or dryer? Some researchers say climate doesnt matter.
In the U.S. for example, where different regions have varied weather and climate types, one study found that even people in mild, moderate San Diego reported weather-related pain. In fact, they reported more pain than residents of the studys three colder U.S. cities: Nashville, Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts.
Chronic pain doesnt care where you live, says Dr. Bolash. Humidity and barometric pressure tends to change everywhere.
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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects You Over Time
When you deal with inflammation for a long time without any treatment, it can damage the cartilage of your bones. The cartilage is elastic-like tissue that covers bones and joints. When the effects of rheumatoid arthritis go unchecked, the normal joint spacing between bones becomes smaller. In addition to causing pain in the joints, the shrinking of this space can also lead to loose and unstable joints that you may have trouble controlling voluntarily.
The most common areas of the body affected by rheumatoid arthritis include the ankles, elbows, feet, hands, knees, and wrists. The disease is symmetrical, which means it typically affects both the right and left body part at the same time. It is also important to realize that rheumatoid arthritis can affect respiratory, cardiovascular, or other body systems. This makes it a systemic disease, which means that it affects your entire body.
Joint deformity is another common issue with untreated rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, damage to the joints is not reversible. This is the reason we recommend early diagnosis and aggressive treatment at UHC Rheumatology. While this disease is incurable, it is possible to treat it and manage the symptoms.
What The Research On Arthritis Pain Shows
One study looked for a relationship between weather and arthritis pain in 151 people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or fibromyalgia as well as 32 people without arthritis. All participants lived in Cordoba City, Argentina, which has a warm climate. Participants kept a journal for one year recording the presence and features of any pain, and these daily reports were matched with weather conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity.
Patients in all three groups experienced more pain on days when the temperature was low, while people in the control group were unaffected by any of the weather conditions. In addition, patients with rheumatoid arthritis were affected by high humidity and high pressure osteoarthritis patients by high humidity and those with fibromyalgia by high pressure. However, the associations were not strong enough to allow pain to predict weather, or vice versa.
Another study looked at 154 people who lived in Florida and had osteoarthritis of the neck, hand, shoulder, knee, or foot. Participants reported their arthritis pain scores for up to two years, then researchers matched the scores with the daily temperature, barometric pressure, and precipitation status. No significant associations were found between any of the weather conditions and osteoarthritis pain at any site, except for a slight association between rising barometric pressure and hand pain in women.
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Will Changing My Diet Help My Rheumatoid Arthritis
When combined with the treatments and medications your provider recommends, changes in diet may help reduce inflammation and other symptoms of RA. But it wont cure you. You can talk with your doctor about adding good fats and minimizing bad fats, salt and processed carbohydrates. No herbal or nutritional supplements, like collagen, can cure rheumatoid arthritis. These dietary changes are safer and most successful when monitored by your rheumatologist.
But there are lifestyle changes you can make that may help relieve your symptoms. Your rheumatologist may recommend weight loss to reduce stress on inflamed joints.
People with rheumatoid arthritis also have a higher risk of coronary artery disease. High blood cholesterol can respond to changes in diet. A nutritionist can recommend specific foods to eat or avoid to reach a desirable cholesterol level.
What You Can Do
Write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you’ve had in the past
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you currently take and have taken in the past for this problem
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
You can take steps to care for your body if you have rheumatoid arthritis. These self-care measures, when used along with your rheumatoid arthritis medications, can help you manage your signs and symptoms:
- Exercise regularly. Gentle exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, and it can help reduce fatigue you might feel. Check with your doctor before you start exercising. If you’re just getting started, begin by taking a walk. Avoid exercising tender, injured or severely inflamed joints.
- Apply heat or cold. Heat can help ease your pain and relax tense, painful muscles. Cold may dull the sensation of pain. Cold also has a numbing effect and can reduce swelling.
- Relax. Find ways to cope with pain by reducing stress in your life. Techniques such as guided imagery, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.
How To Avoid Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the nerves in the body which is why a lot of patients experience numbness and sharp pain in affected areas. The condition is definitely alarming. It affects more parts of the body than you think. And does not just affect your joints as bones like most of the people say. It can also affect vital organs and affect your vision as well as your nerves. So, is vital to treat this condition as soon as possible to avoid complications of rheumatoid arthritis.
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Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Internal Organs
Some patients with RA develop more generalized disease in which internal organs can be inflamed and damaged. This is quite rare, especially today with our new therapies. Some of the patients who develop this problem have little nodules under the skin of their forearms. Internal problems can include:
- lung inflammation
- pericarditis, inflammation of the lining around the heart
- nerve irritation called neuropathy
- eye inflammation called scleritis
- dry eyes or dry mouth due to Sjogren’s syndrome
Each of these problems can be treated with many of the newer medications available for rheumatoid arthritis.
Why Does Cold Weather Affect Arthritis
The scientific community is still somewhat divided when it comes to whether or not cold temperatures can exacerbate arthritis pain. There isnt much conclusive evidence, but some studies show that there may be a link between low barometric pressure, high humidity, and joint swelling.
Many believe that a drop in barometric pressure, which occurs when a cold front is approaching, causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness. A recent study revealed a significant yet modest relationship between pain and relative humidity, pressure, and wind speed. According to the study results, the worst combination of weather variables increases the odds of experiencing pain by around 20 percent in comparison to the average day.
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How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Entire Body
Like many autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis typically waxes and wanes. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience periods when their symptoms worsen separated by periods in which the symptoms improve. With successful treatment, symptoms may even go away completely .
Although rheumatoid arthritis can have many different symptoms, joints are always affected. Rheumatoid arthritis almost always affects the joints of the hands , wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and/or feet. The larger joints, such as the shoulders, hips, and jaw, may be affected. The vertebrae of the neck are sometimes involved in people who have had the disease for many years. Usually at least two or three different joints are involved on both sides of the body, often in a symmetrical pattern. The usual joint symptoms include the following:
These symptoms may keep someone from being able to carry out normal activities. General symptoms include the following:
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What Happens In A Joint Affected By Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system can cause inflammation inside a joint or a number of joints. Inflammation is normally an important part of how your immune system works. It allows the body to send extra fluid and blood to a part of the body under attack from an infection. For example, if you have a cut that gets infected, the skin around it can become swollen and a different colour.
However, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, this inflammation in the joint is unnecessary and causes problems.
When the inflammation goes down, the capsule around the synovium remains stretched and cant hold the joint in its proper position. This can cause the joint to become unstable and move into unusual positions.
The following can play a part in why someone has rheumatoid arthritis:
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What Are The Complications Of Ra
Rheumatoid arthritis has many physical and social consequences and can lower quality of life. It can cause pain, disability, and premature death.
- Premature heart disease. People with RA are also at a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. To prevent people with RA from developing heart disease, treatment of RA also focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors. For example, doctors will advise patients with RA to stop smoking and lose weight.
- Obesity. People with RA who are obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being obese also increases risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Finally, people with RA who are obese experience fewer benefits from their medical treatment compared with those with RA who are not obese.
- Employment. RA can make work difficult. Adults with RA are less likely to be employed than those who do not have RA. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they cannot do as much as they used to. Work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding. Work loss is lower among those in jobs with few physical demands, or in jobs where they have influence over the job pace and activities.
What Are Tips For Managing And Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
The following tips are helpful in managing and living with RA:
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Eat healthy foods. Avoid sugar and junk food. Quit smoking, or donât start. Donât drink alcohol in excess. These common-sense measures have an enormous impact on general health and help the body function at its best.
- Exercise: Discuss the right kind of exercise for you with your doctor, if necessary.
- Rest when needed, and get a good nightâs sleep. The immune system functions better with adequate sleep. Pain and mood improve with adequate rest.
- Follow your doctorâs instructions about medications to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects.
- Communicate with your doctor about your questions and concerns. They have experience with many issues that are related to rheumatoid arthritis.
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What Is The Patients Role In Treating Or Managing Arthritis
The patient is the most important member of the health care team.
The patient plays an important role in his or her medical care. The patient can contribute to the success of a treatment plan by:
- learning about arthritis
- reporting progress and setbacks to health team
- keeping a positive attitude
- developing relationships with the rest of the health care team
Keeping a positive attitude, though sometimes difficult, is an important ingredient in overcoming arthritis. Asking questions and finding out as much as you can about of arthritis and its treatment is important. So talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you still need more information , ask the nurse, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist to help you find answers to your questions.
What Happens In Rheumatoid Arthritis
Doctors do not know why the immune system attacks joint tissues. However, they do know that when a series of events occurs, rheumatoid arthritis can develop. This series of events includes:
- A combination of genes and exposure to environmental factors starts the development of RA.
- The immune system may be activated years before symptoms appear.
- The start of the autoimmune process may happen in other areas of the body, but the impact of the immune malfunction settles in the joints.
- Immune cells cause inflammation in the inner lining of the joint, called the synovium.
- This inflammation becomes chronic, and the synovium thickens due to an increase of cells, production of proteins, and other factors in the joint, which can lead to pain, redness, and warmth.
- As RA progresses, the thickened and inflamed synovium pushes further into the joint and destroys the cartilage and bone within the joint.
- As the joint capsule stretches, the forces cause changes within the joint structure.
- The surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and stabilize the joint become weak over time and do not work as well. This can lead to more pain and joint damage, and problems using the affected joint.
Questions For Your Doctor
- How do I know if my joint pain is caused by rheumatoid arthritis?
- Does RA run in families?
- What medicines would work best for me, and what are the side effects?
- Is there anything I can do to prevent flare-ups of RA?
- What are the pros and cons of surgery to treat RA?
- Does RA affect my life expectancy?
What To Do When Rain Causes Pain
While you cant avoid changing weather, you can take steps to prevent, ease or relieve weather-related joint pain. Dr. Bolash recommends:
Stay limber Stretching regularly and doing yoga are great ways to increase flexibility and maintain joint health. Building muscle may also help. The more muscle you use during physical activity, the better able those muscles are to support your joints.
Do water exercises Working out in a warm pool is especially good for loosening stiff muscles, strengthening joints, building muscle strength and easing discomfort. Water provides resistance while lifting the weight from aching joints.
Consider anti-inflammatory medication or treatments For patients with pain in a single joint such as the site of a former knee injury for example we might pursue steroid injection or other treatment, says Dr. Bolash.
Overall, maintaining mobility is the best way to fend off widespread joint pain without visiting your physician and thats true in any kind of weather, Dr. Bolash says.
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What Areas Of The Body Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Mosaic Weighted Blanket
We are in need of solutions that soothe joints or muscles. What Areas Of The Body Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect. Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis may be hard sometimes you need help stretching with deep tissue tools and finding relief when sleeping with the Mosaic weighted blanket.
Im seeing a ton of rave reviews regarding these Mosaic blankets. I had to dig deeper and I found out that Mosaics are designed to be 8-12% of your body weight. Were referring to the same sort of hacks that provide calm to arthritis, anxiety, and also those that experience clinical PTSD. The idea is to give the feeling of being held or hugged to you. The fuzzy and warm feelings you get from this sort of sensory input is replicated through an weighted blanket. The majority of the times you experience pain or numbness in the joints or muscle its because you are unable to relax or stretch that joint or muscle.
This blanket, provides the experience of being hugged tight, which is as soothing regardless of your age.
Anyone who has experienced this type of distress and sought relief knows how frustrating it can be.
So at about $150 for the blanket that could last years and help alleviate pain and allow me to sleep it is a no brainer.
But beware, not all are created and just a few are made for breathability. Like any great idea, tons of brands pop up to provide inferior products .