What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Your-Health-Online Back-to-Directory A health article about rheumatoid arthritis from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies

A long-term illness characterized by joint disease that involves muscles, membrane linings of the joints and cartilage. Sometimes the eyes and blood vessels are affected.

It is 3 times more common in women than men.

It begins between ages 20 and 60, with a peak incidence between ages 35 and 45.

Signs & Symptoms

Slow or sudden onset of:

• Redness, pain, warmth and tenderness in any or all active joints in the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, feet and ankles.

• Morning stiffness.

• Low-grade fever.

• Nodules under the skin (sometimes).

Symptoms may include anaemia, colitis, constipation, gall-bladder disturbances, low blood pressure, deformed hands and feet.

Types of rheumatoid arthritis

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The word ‘arthritis’ means ‘inflammation of joints’. It comes from two Greek words, athron meaning joints and its meaning inflammation. It is a chronic disease process. In the early stages, the whole body is usually involved and one or two joints may become completely deformed, leaving the patient handicapped and somewhat weakened.

Arthritis assumes various forms, the most frequent being osteroarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation is the main feature of arthritis, which is a reaction of the joint tissues to some form of damage or injury.

Oesteroarthritis
Osteroarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which usually occurs in the older age-group.

It results from structural changes in the articular cartilage in the joints, usually those which are weight-bearing such as the spine and knees.

The chief symptoms of oesteroarthritis are pain and stiffness in the joints. The pain usually increases after exercise.

Other symptoms include watery eyes, dry neck, leg cramps, allergies, arterisclerosis, impairment in the functioning of the gall-bladder and liver disturbances.

The possible causes include malnutrition, continuous physical stress, Obesity, glandular insufficiency, calcium deficiency and shortage of hydrochloric acid.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease which affects not only the joints of the fingers, writs, hips, knees and feet but also the muscles, tendons and other tissues of the body.

The disease is due to an inflammatory process of the synovium or lining of the joints accompanied by swelling and eventual deformity.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually develops gradually over several months with persistent pain and stiffness in one or more joints. Ultimately the whole body is affected.

Symptoms include anemia, colitis, constipation, gall-bladder disturbances, low blood pressure, deformed hands and feet.

What Causes rheumatoid arthritis?

The condition may be caused by hormonal imbalance, physical and emotional stress, infection, severe fright, shock and injury.

Hereditary factors may also be responsible for the onset of this disease.

It can also be caused by an overactive immune system.

Arthritis symptoms usually start out as minor stiffness and pain. It may come and go, but eventually the arthritis systems get worse and more frequent. Treatment for this is most effective if caught within the first few months.

Risk Factors:

RISK INCREASES WITH

• Family history of rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders.
• Genetic factors, such as autoimmune system defects.
• Female age 20–50.
• Native American ethnicity (prevalence is higher in this group).
• Flare-ups may be triggered by emotional stress.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

• The disease may be mild or severe. It is presently incurable, but pain relief, prevention of disability and an active, normal life span are usually possible with early diagnosis.
• Conservative treatment relieves symptoms in 1 year in 75% of patients. About 5% to 10% of patients are eventually disabled, despite treatment.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

• Impaired vision.
• Permanent deformity and crippling.
• Drugs used in treatment can induce complications, such as gastric problems, and those associated with long-term steroid use.
• Moderate anemia.

Prevention:

The newest findings link arthritis not only to poor diet and obesity, but also to the overall state of the immune system.

Quite recently, researchers have found a protein in the immune system that malfunctioned in patients who have arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. Doctors believe they can block this protein to reduce the need for steroids.

As the general population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing. Today arthritis medications are aimed at baby-boomers who have spent more years living with obesity than the previous generation.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have found that there are more cases of obesity-related arthritis among baby boomers compared to the previous generation.

What we eat often plays a large role in setting the stage for the start of arthritis. There are a few changes anyone can make to their diet to successfully offset arthritis even without using arthritis medications.

The typical North American diet contains an overwhelming amount of cooked, processed and other acid forming foods. A healthy diet should be 70% alkaline and 30% acidic. Unfortunately, the average North American diet has reversed this ratio.

Instead of eating cooked foods that are acid forming, a diet of mostly raw, fresh vegetables, fruits and reducing the consumption of meats are an excellent way to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.

To ease your arthritis symptoms without succumbing to arthritis medications, avoid foods that form acid in your body. These foods include bread, coffee, corn, honey, oatmeal, peanuts, rice, soy, pasta and wheat. When treating arthritis, stay away from saturated fats, such as butter, cream, and margarine.

Antioxidants in brightly colored fruits and vegetables offer substantial protection against arthritis. By eating more yellow and orange fruits and vegetables you will consume antioxidants called carotenoids, which can lower your chances of developing inflammatory arthritis.

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Some dietitians suggest that night-shade vegetables are unsuitable for arthritis patients, which means you should think twice about eating peppers, (red, green and yellow), potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants.

Build your arthritis diet around such alkaline-forming products as most berries, bananas, dates, figs, prunes, raisins, almonds, asparagus, avocado, fresh beans, beets, carrots, grapes, plums, spinach, apricots, broccoli, all kind of cabbage, cantaloupe, celery, cherries, chestnuts, chicory, coconut milk, fresh sweet corn and cucumbers. Focusing on vegetables instead of proteins will ease many other symptoms and help you reduce weight too.

Proper hydration is a must. Drink half your weight in ounces - that would be 75 oz of water for a person weighing 150 pounds. If you must drink alcohol, coffee or soda, drink an extra 16 oz of water for every alcoholic drink and cup of coffee or soda you consume in addition to the water you would normally drink.

Arthritis is a condition that takes years to develop. In many cases, arthritis can be avoided or effectively managed through the use of alternative methods that include proper nutrition, hydration and specific nutritional supplements that can reduce the damage done to aging joints.

When to seek Medical Advice:

GENERAL MEASURES

• Laboratory blood studies to detect a rheumatoid factor.
• Splints at night may be helpful to support and protect a joint with active disease.
• Gloves at night to retain heat.
• Relieve pain with heat, including hot soaks, heat lamps, heating pads or whirlpool treatments.
• If you don't have a firm mattress, place 3/4-inch plywood between your bed springs and mattress to support your back.
• Consider moving to a dry climate. Damp weather aggravates symptoms.

Treatment/Therapy:

New treatments for arthritis are constantly researched. The most common arthritis medications are non-steroid or steroid anti-inflammatory drugs which, although effective, have serious side-effects.

They can have unpleasant side effects: cause weight gain, acne, osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, cataracts and infections.

The side effects of steroids impact on almost every system of the body, and the more steroids you take, the more side effects you are likely to experience.

MEDICATIONS

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin and other salicylates; gold compounds; immunosuppressive drugs.

• Cortisone drugs usually relieve pain dramatically for short periods, but they are less effective for long-term use. They don't prevent progressive joint destruction, and they sometimes have hazardous side effects. Cortisone injections into joints can temporarily relieve pain.

Arthritis treatments depend on the type and include surgery and drug treatment, reduction of joint stress, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and even pain management.

A number of herbal remedies are increasingly becoming a popular cure of some common arthritic conditions.

Exercise and Arthritis

Your bones hang out in a lot of joints. Knee joints. Hip joints. The joints in your fingers and the joints in your toes.

Wherever bones meet, there is also cartilage, a rubbery, protective layer that ensures your joints bend smoothly and painlessly. But even cartilage cannot do this tremendous job alone. A thin membrane called the “synovium” provides fluid that lubricates the moving parts of the joint. When the cartilage wears out of the synovium becomes inflamed, the result is generally a case of “osteoarthritis” or “rheumatoid arthritis.”

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage can be eroded so much that bone does rub on bone. Thos type of arthritis develops gradually over a lifetime as a simple result of the wear and tear placed on your joints over the years. Very few people escape some degree of osteoarthritis, though the severity varies a great deal.

As a matter of fact, if you are over the age of 50, you are likely to have at least one joint affected by osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects men and women equally and is by far the most common type of arthritis, with almost 16 million Americans in the list.

In rheumatoid arthritis, damage to the synovium is at the source of trouble. Doctors and researchers are not absolutely sure what causes it, but most think that rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system actually attacks certain tissues in the body, including those that connect the joints and the synovium.

Rheumatoid arthritis begins with swollen, red, stiff, and painful joints, but it may progress until scar tissue forms in the joint or, in extreme cases, until the bones actually fuse together. Almost 75% of the 2 million people with rheumatoid arthritis in the United States are women. The disease can hit as early as teen years.

Exercising Your Prevention Options

Investing a little time in developing a good weight-bearing low-impact exercise and stretching plan can add up to great results when it comes to staving off arthritis pain. Strong muscles help protect the joints from wear and tear, and the movement keeps joints flexible.

That is why the quest for fitness is at hand, even if you are 50 years and over. However, most Americans over 50 are still right where they always were sitting back and watching others jog by. Most of them contend that that is just for people who have been athletic all their life, or some say exercise is for young people and engaging into exercise will do them more harm than good.

There are still some that insist on excusing their selves in exercise routines because they do not just have time or they have less energy than ever before. These are all lame excuses. Hence, it is time to start to get rid of those pains. Start exercising.

Consequently, preventing arthritis is not an exact science, but physicians have discovered a few ways to lower your risk. Here is how:

1. Do not weight around

The single most important measure anyone can take to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee is to lose weight if they are overweight. Extra weight puts extra stress on your knees. If you are 10 pounds overweight, for example, you put 60 pounds per square inch of extra pressure on your knees every time you take a step. That extra pressure can slowly but surely erode the cartilage in your knees, leading to arthritis.

A study has clearly supported the theory that weight loss weighs in on the side of prevention. In the study, overweight women who lost 11 pounds or more over a 10-year period decreased their risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee by 50%.

2. Stretch those muscles

Any kind of stretching is good as long as you do not bounce, which can lead to a muscle pull. This is according to some of the professors of clinical medicine in New York City.

Try to hold a slow, steady stretch for 15 to 20 seconds, then relax and repeat. It is best to flex up by stretching before any exercise, especially running and walking. But it is also a good idea to stretch each day. Ask your doctor to teach you stretches that focus on potential arthritis trouble spots, such as the knees or the lower back.

3. Walking is always the best exercise

Take a good long walk at least three times a week or participate in a step-aerobics or low-impact exercise routine maximum results. There is no proof that running is bad for the joints, but remember, it may aggravate an injury if you already have one. Just remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

The bottom line is that of all the healthful habits, exercise is the most important. This is because people are designed to be active. Hence, it is really important for people to exercise in order to stay healthy and keep those joints free from wear and tear.

Just keep in mind that the unexercised body, even if free from the symptoms of illness or problems like arthritis, is not at its full potential. Hence, start exercising right now!

Self Care strategies for Living with rheumatoid arthritis

ACTIVITY

• Stay in bed, except to use the bathroom, until fever and other signs of an active flare-up disappear.
• Remain active, but include daily rest periods. Sleep for 10 to 12 hours each night. Don't become overtired.
• Stand, walk and sit erectly.
• When able, exercise actively to preserve strength and joint mobility. Build up slowly to the amount suggested. Exercising in a heated pool is good for stiff joints.
• Exercise disabled joints passively to help prevent contractures.

Cllick here to read detailed instructions for Arthritis Exercises for all levels

Keep body warm, don't bandage joints

The body should be kept warm at all times. Joints should not be bandaged tightly as this limits movement and interferes with the free circulation of blood.

Take rest, should have plenty of indirect ventilation

There should be plenty of indirect ventilation in the bedroom. Rest is advised when there is acute inflammation in the joints.

Sea bathing

Sea bathing has been found valuable in arthritis. The natural iodine in sea water is said to relieve arthritis pain. As is well known, Iodine regulates the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues, helps to repair and regenerate worn out tissues and nourishes the skeletal structure.

It enters into the thyroid gland's secretion. The hormone uses the iodine to cleanse the internal toxins. If sea bathing is not possible, the patient should relax for thirty minutes every night in a tub of warm water, in which a cup of common salt has been mixed.

The minerals in the salt, especially Iodine, will be absorbed through the pores of the skin. This will help correct an internal imbalance.

Arthritis treatment using Coconut or Mustard Oil

Warm coconut oil or mustard oil, mixed with two or three pieces of camphor should be massaged on stiff and aching joints. It will increase blood supply, and reduce inflammation and stiffness with the gentle warmth produced while massaging. Camphorated oil is an ancient rubefacient used for the purpose.

Diet change strategies:

The diet of the arthritis patient should be planned along alkaline lines and should include fruits and vegetables for protection and proteins and carbohydrates for energy. It may consist of a couple of fresh raw vegetables in the form of a salad and at least two cooked vegetables.

Cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, endive, lettuce, onion, radishes, tomatoes and watercress may be used for a raw salad. The cooked vegetables may include asparagus, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, celery, mushroom, onions, peas, beans, spinach, tomatoes, squash and turnips.

Arthritis treatment using Potato Juice

The raw potato juice therapy is considered one of the most successful biological treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries. The traditional method of preparing potato juice is to cut a medium-sized potato into thin slices, without peeling the skin, and place the slices overnight in a large glass filled with cold water.

The water should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. Fresh juice can also be extracted from potatoes. A medium-sized potato should be diluted with a cup of water and drunk first thing in the morning.

Arthritis treatment using Other Raw Juices

One cup of green juice, extracted from any green leafy vegetable, mixed in equal proportions with carrot, celery, and red beet juices is good for arthritis. The alkaline action of raw juices dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and in other tissues.

A cup of fresh pineapple juice is also valuable, as the enzyme bromelain in fresh pineapple juice reduces swelling and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis treatment using Sesame Seeds

A teaspoon of black sesame seeds, soaked in a quarter cup of water and kept overnight, has been found to be effective in preventing frequent joint pains. The water in which the seeds are soaked should also be taken along with the seeds first thing in the morning.

Arthritis treatment using Copper

Drinking water kept overnight in a copper container accumulates traces of copper, which is said to strengthen the muscular system. A copper ring or bracelet is worn for the same reason.

Arthritis treatment using Calcium

Studies have shown that calcium can help arthritis. Several patients have discovered that joint pains have either been relieved or have disappeared entirely after taking calcium.

This mineral should be taken in the form of calcium lactate. Two teaspoons of calcium lactate, each teaspoon providing 400 mg of absorbable calcium, may be taken three times daily in water, before meals for at least four months.

Arthritis treatment using Garlic

Garlic is another effective remedy for arthritis. It contains an anti-inflammatory property which accounts for its effectiveness in the treatment of this disease. Garlic may be taken raw or cooked according to individual preference.

Arthritis treatment using Bananas

Bananas, being a rich source of vitamin B6, have proved useful in the treatment of arthritis. A diet of only bananas for three or four days is advised in treating this condition. The patient may eat eight or nine bananas daily during this period and nothing else.

Arthritis treatment using Lime

Lime has also been found beneficial as a home remedy for arthritis. The citric acid found in lime is a solvent of uric acid which is the primary cause of some types of arthritis.

The juice of one lime, diluted with water, may be taken once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.

Arthritis treatment using Alfalfa

A tea made from the herb alfalfa, especially from its seeds, has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis. One teaspoon of alfalfa seeds may be added to one cup of water.

Three to four cups of this tea should be taken daily by arthritics for at least two weeks.

Arthritis treatment using Green Gram Soup

Another home remedy found useful in relieving pains in the joints is the use of green gram soup. This soup should be prepared by mixing a tablespoon of green gram in a cup of water, with two crushed garlic cloves. It should be taken twice a day.

Arthritis treatment using Castor Oil

Treatment with castor oil has been found beneficial in arthritis. The procedure, as prescribed by a Spanish doctor, is to boil two tablespoons of castor oil over a stove burner. The oil should then be poured into a glass of fresh orange juice and taken before breakfast daily till the disease is cured.

It was advised to patients to take it for three weeks, wait for another three weeks and then repeat it again for another three weeks. It is, however, essential that the patient must take an alkaline diet while adopting this mode of treatment otherwise the value of the treatment will be lost.

Take fruits and vegetables in the form of salads

The diet of an arthritis patient should be planned so as to produce alkalinity in the blood. It should include fruits and vegetables in the form of salads, and, at least, two cooked vegetables. In severe cases, it would be advisable to put the patient on raw vegetable juice therapy three times a day, for about a week. Repeated juice fasts are recommended at intervals of every two months.

Vitamin & Nutrient Associations





I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Deb Dowling and my background is in Massage Therapy and Kinesiology specialising in relaxation techniques, emotional release, pain management, stress management and personal development with kinesiology. I also provide nutritional and weight loss programs.

I have been invited to share my experiences here with these wonderful nutrition products and am happy to help others to improve their health and wellbeing by also sharing my recommended product use as set out below here.

I personally have experienced a history of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, Reynard's disease, poly-arthritic myalgia fibromyalgia, peri-menopausal symptoms including depression, migraines and sinus problems.

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After eating all types of foods - I hadn't had blocked sinuses either. As the weeks continued I kept losing another kilo each week (total of 10kgs in 10 weeks) and continued to have more pain free days. I also noticed that my range of motion with my joints had increased. I no longer needed any medications - including HRT, anti-imflammatories and anti-depressants.

After three months I had a routine check-up with my rheumatologist. He was amazed at the difference in me - he asked what I was doing?

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids

omega

Omega-3 fatty acids are also needed for joint health. Omega-3 also provides temporary relief of the pain of arthritis. Many nutritionallist believe that there is not enough Omega-3's in our diet and we need them to enhance the health of all our body systems.

For more information on Omega 3 Fatty Acids review this University of Maryland Medical Center Study of Omega 3 fatty acid Clinical Trials

Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.

We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.

More Resources available about rheumatoid arthritis :

What is Arthritis?
The word ‘arthritis’ means ‘inflammation of joints’. It comes from two Greek words, athron meaning joints and its meaning inflammation. It is a chronic disease process. In the early stages, the whole body is usually involved and one or two joints may become completely deformed, leaving the patient handicapped and somewhat weakened.

Arthritis assumes various forms, the most frequent being osteroarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation is the main feature of arthritis, which is a reaction of the joint tissues to some form of damage or injury. Arthritis signals people in a variety of ways. Joints might crack suddenly, like knees upon standing. Other joints may be stiff and creak. Maybe pain occurs, like when trying to open a jar.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

Exercises For All Levels Of Arthritis
Exercise can be very beneficial for arthritis sufferers, often relieving stiffness in joints, strengthening muscles thereby reducing stress on joints, keeping bone and cartilage tissue strong and healthy, and increasing flexibility. A recommended 30-minute minimum of daily activity is the norm.

Before starting any exercise program, it is vital that one speak to their doctor to ensure there are no unseen risks, however you will find that most doctors recommend exercise for their arthritis patients either on their own initiative or when asked.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)

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