Rheumatoid arthritis, which is also known as just RA, is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system that is designed to protect your body from illness by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses will mistakenly attack the joints of the body.
The abnormal immune response causes inflammation that can damage joints and organs, such as the heart. It is important to get diagnosed as early as possible to help prevent and reduce the deterioration of the joints and organ damage.
There are approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The number of women with arthritis is nearly three times as many as men. Arthritis can develop in women as young as early 30’s, between 30 – 60 years old are being the common range. With men RA often occurs later in life like in a man’s 60’s.
Currently there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but there are a number of things sufferers can do to help ease the symptoms, reduce inflammation, and slow the progression of the disease. No one method works the same for everyone but many people with the condition find effective treatments in one form or another.
The goal for treatment is reducing the frequency of flare ups to the point where inflammation is gone or is very low. A rheumatologist, who is a specialty doctor that treat people with arthritis, should monitor your levels of activity and inflammation on a regular basis. This can be accomplished by doing exams and blood tests that can help determine how well the treatment is working.
Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis there are some things that you can do to help alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with the disease. In this article you will learn some effective ways to cope with arthritis.
Doctors traditionally treat arthritis with anti-inflammatory and pain medications. The problem with medications is that they can trigger negative reactions and/or cause side effects.
A natural approach to pain relief is becoming increasingly popular amongst arthritis sufferers. We will be going over some popular natural remedies in the information that follows. As always you should consult with a medical professional prior to trying any new medications, supplements, procedures or natural remedies.
Lower Your Weight – Your weight can make a huge difference on the amount of pain you experience from arthritis. The added weight puts more pressure and strain on your joints. The hips, knees and feet are especially affected. Losing weight will reduce the amount of stress on your joints and help improve your mobility, reduce the pain, and prevent further joint damage.
Exercise – Getting plenty of exercise is important for minimizing stiff sore joints and bones. Regular exercise will help promote healthy joints by maintaining flexibility. Try to avoid impact exercises such as running and walking or using heavy weights because the added pressure and impact can cause damage.
A great alternative is to try low impact exercises like swimming or water aerobics to keep your joints loose and flexible without adding additional stress. Not only does exercise help to keep your joint movement more flexible but it is also good for losing the extra weight that creates more pressure.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture was developed as a way to reroute energies and restore balance in your body that has been used as an ancient Chinese medical treatment. The procedure involves inserting thin needles into specific points of the body.
Those who practice acupuncture believe that it also has the ability to reduce the pain associated with arthritis. If you are considering this type of treatment, be sure to find a highly experienced and reputable acupuncturist with good reviews.
Meditation – Meditation and relaxation techniques may be able to help you reduce pain from arthritis by reducing stress and enabling you to cope with it better. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), studies have found that the practice of peaceful meditation is useful for some people with joint pain. Research has also shown that those diagnosed with depression and arthritis have gotten the best results from meditation.
Massage Therapy – Regular massaging of arthritic joints can help reduce pain and stiffness, and improve your range of motion according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Find a good massage therapist who has experience working with people with arthritis and schedule regular visits. have your massage therapist teach you some massages that you can do at home yourself, this can help keep cost down if your health insurance does not cover the costs sufficiently.
Herbal Supplements – There are many kinds of herbal supplements on the market that claim to be able to reduce joint pain. Some of the herbs touted for arthritis pain include boswellia, bromelain, devil’s claw, ginkgo, and stinging nettle. Always talk with a doctor before trying a new supplement to avoid negative side effects and dangerous drug reactions.