How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed
There is no single blood test to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Your specialist at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, LLC conducts a comprehensive examination when you come in with concerns about joint pain. Your exam may include a review of your symptoms and medical history, physical, and blood tests.
Your doctor may also recommend diagnostic imaging to evaluate the extent of your joint damage.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Is A Kind Of Arthritis That Affects The Joints
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects both sides of the body, causing joint deterioration and discomfort. It commonly affects both of your hands, knees, or wrists at the same time. One way physicians identify RA from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, is the way it affects both sides of your body .
Rheumatoid arthritis develops when your immune system malfunctions and attacks your bodys tissues. The lining of your joints swells up and becomes red and painful as a consequence of this. If you dont treat RA, it may spread to other parts of your body, including your eyes, lungs, blood vessels, and heart, among other things.
When you begin to experience symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as joint swelling, stiffness, and pain, you must see your doctor to be diagnosed. Treatments for RA are most effective when the disease is detected early.
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Ginger: Spice Up Your Dishes To Turn Down The Flame
Like onions, ginger contains compounds that function in much the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. This versatile root adds flavor too. Add fresh peeled ginger to stir-fries, eat pickled ginger along with salmon sushi, or puree some and add it to an acorn squash soup.
Ginger supplements can also help reduce inflammation, but check with your doctor before taking them, Sandon says. Too much ginger can lead to thinning of the blood, which can be dangerous if you are taking certain drugs, like Coumadin . It can also decrease blood sugar levels, raising the risk of hypoglycemia. In addition, ginger may lower blood pressure, which could affect those taking high blood pressure medication.
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Sugar And Refined Flour
Your blood sugar levels can surge after youve eaten simple carbohydrates that are easily broken down by the body. Such foods include sugary snacks and drinks, white-flour bread and pasta, and white rice. A spike in your blood sugar prompts the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which can worsen your RA symptoms if the inflammation affects your joints. These foods can also cause you to put on the pounds, stressing your joints. There is no real replacement for these foods, but you can try gluten-free alternatives, which can be helpful, says Domingues.
Foods And Beverages To Avoid With Arthritis
Arthritis is a common health condition involving chronic inflammation in your joints. It causes pain and damage to joints, bones, and other body parts depending on the type .
Osteoarthritis, which is noninflammatory, is the most common though over 100 types exist. In fact, up to 40% of men and 47% of women may be diagnosed with osteoarthritis during their lifetime .
Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are inflammatory conditions that are considered autoimmune diseases. Gout is another common type of inflammatory arthritis .
Research shows that dietary interventions, such as eliminating certain foods and beverages, may reduce symptom severity in people with inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as improve their overall quality of life.
Here are 8 foods and beverages to avoid if you have arthritis.
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The 8 Best Healthy Snacks For Arthritis
Who doesnt love a good snack? Weve all felt the guilt that comes from reaching into the lazy Susan and grabbing a cookie or candy bar. But snacking doesnt have to be synonymous with bad for you. In fact, many of the best snacks for arthritis are actually quite healthy without sacrificing any of the delicious appeal. Lets take a look at eight healthy snacks that will help you fight inflammation and get back to the activities you enjoyed before arthritis came into your life.
Consume Foods That Are Naturally Rich In Vitamin D
If you dont live in a warm climate then what do you do?
The next thing to try is adding foods that are rich in vitamin D to your diet. The daily recommended dose of vitamin D is 400 600 IU per day, but some nutritionists feel that up to 4000 units a day is needed for patients that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. But make sure to consult with your doctor first.
Medical Study #: Vitamin D Deficiency Is Linked To Rheumatoid Arthritis
A study published in the medical journal Endocrinology and Metabolism has found that vitamin D levels are significantly associated with disease activity, levels of inflammatory cytokines , and bone loss in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
According to the study, it appears that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis.
Scientists, doctors and researchers do not have a definitive answer as to why vitamin D plays an important role in the body . But they do know that the studies that have been done strongly suggest its better to not let it get too low in your body, especially if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis And Your Diet: The Connection
A medical study found that nearly one-quarter of people with rheumatoid arthritis reported that diet had an effect on their RA symptoms.
To fight arthritis symptoms, it is generally recommended to eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your stress levels.According to Arthritis Research UK, some studies show that people who eat a lot of red meat are more likely to develop joint inflammation.
One medical study has also suggested that vegetarian and vegan diets can reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. If you do follow such diets, you just need to make sure you provide your body with sufficient amount of nutrients from plant sources.
The most common nutritional deficiencies in vegetarians and vegans include:
If you think you might not be getting enough of these nutrients with your daily diet, consider a good quality supplement.
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Glucosamine Can Be Effective For Treating Joint Pain
Glucosamine reduces the symptoms of pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. It is naturally synthesized in our body and present in our connective tissues such as the cartilage in our knees. As we age, we lose the amount of this substance in our body, which leads to thinning of cartilage, and that might progress to osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine cannot regenerate cartilage, but it can prevent further loss and stop the progression of arthritis. The good thing about it is that it doesnt have serious side effects.
One scientific study in adults with osteoarthritis found that taking 1,500 mg of glucosamine daily for half a year reduced pain and improved function more than a placebo.
Another two scientific studies, showed that taking 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate daily for three years improved symptoms of osteoarthritis. One of the studies concluded that: Long-term treatment with glucosamine sulfate retarded the progression of knee osteoarthritis. The other study concluded that taking glucosamine can be good for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Advanced Glycation End Products
AGEs are inflammatory compounds that can accumulate in tissues, particularly as someone ages. An article in Patient Education explains that people with diseases such as diabetes and RA often have increased AGE levels. So, reducing AGE levels may help reduce inflammation.
Fat and sugar both increase AGE levels in the body. Some food processing methods and high temperature cooking also increase the AGE levels in food.
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Nutrient Rich Fruit And Vegetable Smoothies
If youve had your fill of fruits and veggies in their whole form, try blending them into a smoothie to go. Check out these recipe ideas and incorporate them into your next trip to the grocery store. Smoothies are a great way to get your nutrients on busy mornings or while sitting at your desk at work and theyre delicious to boot!
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors Of Arthritis
The cause of arthritis may vary according to the type of the disease. Most types of arthritis do not have a known cause.
Research has revealed the role of three major factors in certain types of arthritis:
- Genetic factors cause some types of arthritis to run in families.
- Physical activity and diet affect arthritis symptoms.
- The presence of other medical conditions such as infections and chronic diseases such as lupus puts you at risk for arthritis.
Several factors may increase a personâs risk for arthritis:
- Age: The risk of getting arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, increases with age. Age may also worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
- Gender: Arthritis generally affects women more often than men.
- Weight: Being obese or overweight puts extra stress on the joints that support an individualâs weight. Increased weight beyond the normal range for a personâs age and height increases joint wear and tear, and the risk of arthritis.
- Occupation: Certain jobs may involve the worker to keep doing the same movements repeatedly. These include jobs where one needs to do heavy lifting or repeated fine work as done by musicians. It can cause joint stress and/or an injury, which may lead to arthritis.
- Injury: Joint injury or trauma may cause osteoarthritis.
- Autoimmune diseases: These may misdirect the immune system towards the joints as seen in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- Infections: Certain infections may lead to joint inflammation as seen in tubercular arthritis and .
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How Can I Keep To A Healthy Weight
Keeping to a healthy weight is important for your general health, but it can also have benefits for people with different types of arthritis.
Being overweight can put more strain on your joints particularly those in the legs. The force put through your knees when walking can be two or three times your body weight, so losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference. Being overweight can also increase inflammation in the body, which could cause you more pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms generally start by affecting the smaller joints in your body, such as those in your fingers or toes. Common symptoms include:
- Joint tenderness and inflammation
- Loss of appetite
Your rheumatoid arthritis may also lead to trigger finger or trigger thumb, which can cause joint pain, stiffness, and locking of the joint in your finger or thumb. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any tissue in your body, and may also lead to tendonitis or be responsible for heel pain.
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Mayo Clinic Minute: Fighting Arthritis With Food
Millions of Americans suffer from symptoms of arthritis that are often debilitating. The most common form is degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, followed by inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. John Davis III, a Mayo Clinic rheumatologist, says what you eat may help with some of the inflammation associated with arthritis.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.” Read the script.
Can avoiding foods like potato chips and pizza help ease your arthritis pain? Maybe.
“Some foods can increase inflammation levels and contribute to symptoms of arthritis, especially really fatty foods simple sugars or carbohydrates, lots of salt, or salty food,” says Dr. Davis.
Symptoms may include swollen and achy joints, discomfort and pain.
“Arthritis relates to a diverse set of disorders where there is inflammation that occurs in joints,” says Dr. Davis.
He says that while medication may help joint pain, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and paying attention to the food you eat play important roles.
“Small amounts of weight loss can lead to reductions of just overall inflammation in the body, which can have overall benefits,” says Dr. Davis.
Add more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, whole grains and fish. These foods are thought to reduce inflammation and help with pain.
Food As Treatment For Arthritis
Arthritis symptoms can include joint swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Some forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, are inflammatory diseasescaused by inflammation in the body that affects the joints and other systems. Others, like osteoarthritis, are the causes of inflammation, particularly in the joints.
Either way, managing and reducing inflammation is essential to reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling for both types of conditions. Inflammation associated with arthritis is often targeted by medications with the aim to help improve symptoms and decrease pain. Certain foods also have inflammatory properties, making them a powerful complementary treatment for arthritis.
Researchers have found that the Mediterranean diet may provide benefits in reducing pain and swollen and tender joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients. One study looked at adherence to the Mediterranean diet and pain associated with osteoarthritis. It concluded that, within the study group of 4330 subjects, a lower risk of osteoarthritis symptoms and pain was associated with those who followed a Mediterranean diet pattern.
Other studies have looked at a general anti-inflammatory diet and its impact on arthritis. One research trial saw a positive effect of an anti-inflammatory diet on disease activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
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How Diet Affects Ra
Although there is no demonstrable link between diet and RA, studies have shown that the type of inflammation experienced in RA could be modulated by certain foods. Increased inflammation has been attributed to processed foods or foods cooked at higher temperatures.
It is recommended to increase consumption of foods that are considered to be anti-inflammatory, such as fruits, veggies, and cold water fish . As a result, inflammatory symptoms may improve and possibly lead to fewer flare-ups.
Green Tea: A Nice Cuppa May Sooth Your Joints
Green tea has an abundance of catechins that interrupt the expression of inflammation. Its effect on rheumatoid arthritis has been long studied one such study, published in August 2017 in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, reported that the consumption of green tea offers an overall anti-inflammatory effect. However, most studies have been on small samples. A newer study, published in the March 20, 2020, issue of Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism looked at a real-world, large scale study. Result: A higher intake of green tea was associated with lesser disease activity.
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Sugar And Certain Sugar Alternatives
Foods that contain refined sugarincluding pastries, chocolate, candy, soda, and even fruit juicestrigger the release of proteins in the body called cytokines, which cause inflammation. Sugar is labeled many ways in food items in addition to sugar, watch out for corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, or maltose in ingredient lists.
Cutting back on regular sugar may lead people to seek out foods made with sugar alternatives, such as aspartame and sucralose, when a sweet tooth hits. However, some people are sensitive to these substances, which can cause an inflammatory response from the body. Sugar alternatives are often found in diet sodas, gum, sugar-free candy, and low-fat yogurt and pudding.
Best Healthy Snacks For Arthritis: The Journey Is The Reward
Snacking isnt going to be your only tool against arthritis. We suggest our GLX3 New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel Oil supplement as part of your routine, along with a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet and appropriate exercise. If youre done with snacking and ready to make dinner, here are 6 super easy meal ideas for people arthritis.
These elements come together into a sort of full-circle arthritis fighting routine. Exercise is critically important for whole body health and wellness, but as youve probably learned, many exercises take their toll on your joints. By eating a healthy diet, you can do everything in your power to offset the inflammation and joint pain and get back to doing the things you love most whether that be playing with the kids or going on a morning walk.
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Cod Liver Oil Or Fish Oil
Fish oil is different from cod liver oil.
Cod liver oil contains oil from pressed cod livers only. It contains higher quantities of vitamins A and D than fish oil. The body needs these vitamins, but they can be harmful if people consume them in large quantities.
People who take fish oil or cod liver oil for arthritis will need to consume large amounts in order to obtain the benefits.
For this reason, fish oil is a more healthful source of omega-3s than cod liver oil, as people can consume large quantities without taking in too much vitamin A and D.
Rather than taking fish oil supplements, a person may prefer to include plenty of fish in their diet.
Good sources of omega-3s include:
According to the Arthritis Foundation, eating 36 ounces of a variety of fish above between two and four times a week helps reduce inflammation and protect the heart.
When buying fish, consider the following points:
- Is the fish likely to contain a high level of mercury? Check here.
- Is it from a sustainable source? Check here.