13 Things to Know about Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dr. Nikhil Eric Saldanha
April 20, 2023
Dr. Nikhil Eric Saldanha
April 20, 2023
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis can be challenging. A meta-analysis of several research papers showed that 460 out of 100,000 people have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) worldwide. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which women are more susceptible to having Rheumatoid Arthritis than men. And can also be found in children.
Common symptoms of RA are joint pain, fever, weakness, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Sometimes you also feel fever, weight loss, and tiredness. RA can debilitate your condition, but there are numerous ways of coping with the disease.
Making the minor adjustments mentioned in this article can help improve your quality of life when dealing with RA.
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis is an uncertain condition as it can get better or worse within a day. Depression and anxiety can become common in patients. However, when managed well, both the mood and health of people with rheumatoid arthritis can improve.
According to research, pain and stiffness are common in the morning. It can last up to thirty minutes. Everyday tasks can become challenging. However, clever tactics can prevent strain on the joints.
In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the immune system tends to attack the cells in the body’s joints, starting from the lining of the joints. That is why it is known as an autoimmune disease.
Osteoarthritis is very different from Rheumatoid Arthritis. The most common form of arthritis affecting people worldwide is Osteoarthritis. Its symptoms are the disintegration of cartilages surrounding the bone joints. It does not involve the immune system attacking the cells of the body.
Based on these symptoms, you can divide rheumatoid arthritis into three sections.
The mild form usually affects middle-aged people and working women. Calcareous outgrowths appear on the sides of fingers and toes called Heberden’s nodosities.
It can affect several joints at once, and a person may have a mild fever. These joints swell, and a person may experience pain. These symptoms come and go at different durations and are called attacks.
Chronic symptoms manifest as joints experiencing attacks one at a time, usually beginning in one of the knuckles of hands and feet. The joints eventually start to grow big and painful. The pain feels like stabbing and burning, and the condition also impacts movement in these areas.
It spreads to the wrists, ankles, knees, jaws, and spine as the condition worsens. The affected areas become rigid and make crackling sounds. The muscles, too, start to degenerate, giving the bones a deformed look. Sweating occurs in the affected areas, and the skin begins to pigment there. Extreme cases may also experience redness in the affected areas.
Studies show that people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis showed signs of increased anxiety when the illness curbed their independence due to its mobility restricting features. Furthermore, depression is common among patients when they have less control over the condition and an increased intrusion of treatment.
Medicines targeted to relieve depression will not help in the long run unless we treat the cause of rheumatoid arthritis. In such cases, other interventions such as meditation, mindfulness practices, and breathing can help patients slow down and reassess their condition. Through these practices, they may experience clarity of mind, leading them to new ideas for managing their illness.
The symptoms of pain, inflammation, and redness usually spread to other organs such as the eyes, mouth, lungs, and heart. In addition, patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis cannot wear contact lenses as there is not sufficient moisture in the eyes. Instead, doctors often recommend patients lubricate their eyes with artificial tears.
Furthermore, having painful joints can make patients reluctant to exercise. It can lead to weight gain depending on the type of diet. Weight gain can occur after susceptibility to other diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Research suggests that arthritis can be caused by:
Dr Morse suggests in his book that arthritis causes weakness in the adrenal glands and uric acid deposits in the joints and muscle tissue. This uric acid, he says, is a byproduct of the last stages of digesting protein. According to him, holistic practices such as using several anti-inflammatory herbs and a fruit-based, alkaline diet can help kidneys filter out uric acid.
When you want to tackle rheumatoid arthritis through diet, avoid foods that cause synovitis, inflammation, and spongy of the membrane lining the joint. These are usually cereals, dairy products, and eggs. According to studies, fasts or starvation can produce improvements in this illness. Instead, add non-allergenic foods like, fish, and carrots to your diet.
Your rheumatoid arthritis depression tends to subside once you have more control over your environment. For example, it can make your job easier by starting machines in the house to perform tasks that you previously had to do physically. An example of this would be using an automatic vacuum instead of a handheld one.
Often, patients can avoid needing constant assistance from others through proper awareness and management of the illness. In addition, learning skills such as driving an automatic car can be helpful to increase the sense of mobility of the individual.
Painful joints often discourage people from exercising. However, patients are encouraged to do daily movements such that the joints do not deteriorate from disuse. Regular exercise can also help keep off the excess weight that may lead to further health complications such as diabetes.
Light movement practices such as yoga or qigong are sufficient for this.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory disease. Therefore, patients can also benefit from practices and natural anti-inflammatory supplements. In addition, according to research, meditation can reduce pro-inflammatory responses.
It is easy to find these anti-inflammatory foods in your pantry.
Many use steroid-based anti-inflammatory drugs widely to deal with R.A. Studies suggest that there are medications that are equally useful that cause less side effects categorized as DMARDS. And using natural anti-inflammatory agents before escalating to steroids and other medications is ideal.
Some of the risk factors associated with steroid drugs are:
Hence, it is best to stick with natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as herbs and berries to combat Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis can be a stressful condition as it leads to inflammation, pain, and difficulty in moving. Yet, you can manage these symptoms. Symptom intensity differs if the patient’s arthritis is mild, acute, or chronic.
R.A. can be made better through discipline and diet. Patients can simplify their tasks to create more ease in their daily life. Furthermore, patients can take certain anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric and blackcurrants, which also help manage Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult. However, it does not need to stop people from living fulfilling lives. On the contrary, life can be easier by creating more awareness around the topic and implementing suitable practices.
A. It is possible to live a healthy and active life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Several medicines, such as antirheumatic drugs, can suppress the immune response that causes inflammation in the joints. Meditation and supplements such as turmeric can also reduce inflammation can make it easier to live an active life.
A. Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be frustrating and worrying if not appropriately managed. Some days can be more strenuous than others. At such times, the support of the patient’s social circle becomes key to improving quality of life.
A. It is essential to avoid high strain activities to keep the joints in optimal condition. Therefore, patients should avoid protein and allergic foods in their diets. In addition, doctors advise patients to take adequate breaks between their work.
A. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect life expectancy. However, its impact is much less than in the past. Generally, the patients live ten years less than people not suffering from this particular illness.
A. A common trigger for Rheumatoid Arthritis is doing physical activity without proper breaks. It can cause trauma to the joints. Therefore, moderation in physical activities is essential to managing this illness.
A. No, Rheumatoid Arthritis can have a minimal impact on life expectancy. On the contrary, people with Rheumatoid Arthritis live extremely fulfilling lives despite the illness. Naturopaths, such as Dr Robert Morse, have even claimed that it can be cured altogether with enough discipline in maintaining a diet and regular light exercise.
A. Patients can consume anti-inflammatory diets and medicine to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis. In addition, indulging in meditation and mindfulness reduces the inflammatory response in the body.
A. Daily light exercise, proper diet, and using a form of treatment that one has researched agrees with them can help prevent their Rheumatoid Arthritis from getting worse.
A. Drinking water can help keep the joint lubricating fluids healthy. It also helps reduce inflammation and aids the body in filtering out toxins. It is essential since the body will have more ease filtering out uric acid upon being well-hydrated.
A. Research does not directly link stress to Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, pressure increases inflammatory processes in the body and can worsen the illness. Therefore, it is best to avoid stress and manage it through practices such as breathwork and mindfulness.