Have you ever experienced joint stiffness and pain? Have you noticed that your range of joint movements has decreased? Or perhaps you have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
With some simple dietary changes and regular exercises, you can significantly reduce the symptoms of RA and even prevent this condition.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind.
It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks various joints.
RA can affect the whole body. The majority of patients believe that RA affects only their joints. However, RA can also attack organs, such as the heart, the lungs, or other tissues like muscles, cartilage, and ligaments.
It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years of age. However, RA can strike at any age—even small children can be diagnosed with RA.
What are the Symptoms of RA?
Swelling and chronic joint pain are usually the main and first complaints from the patients who suffer from RA.
Nagging pain, especially in the morning, is accompanied by chronic stiffness.
Patients usually describe that one of the first symptoms of RA are swollen toes and fingers. In the later stages of the disease, persisting pain in the hip and knee joints can be also noticed.
These symptoms have very irregular patterns. Some patients suffer from swollen and stiff joints for a few days over the course of 4-5 weeks.
Other groups of patients can experience more frequent flare-ups which can least even a few weeks.
This stage of RA would be described as the first stage of the disease.
The second stage of RA would be characterised by further swelling and changes in the shape of the joints. In some cases, the bone and cartilage might totally break down.
RA may damage joints within two years of onset.
That is why the prevention of the disease is very important.
And if the patient has already been diagnosed with RA – important dietary changes and regular exercises are crucial to reduce the pain and stiffness.
What causes RA?
As mentioned before, RA is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system starts attacking its own tissues instead of bacteria and viruses, which causes inflammation. Healthy bodies can fight the inflammation fairly quickly. However, in RA this becomes a long-term process.
There are many theories about what triggers autoimmune diseases. However, recent studies confirm that the following triggers can contribute to RA:
bacteria or viruses
The majority of patients who suffer from RA would agree that an anti-inflammatory diet is crucial.
In certain parts of the world like India and China, the numbers of patients affected by RA are very low.
Many researchers believe that this is because of certain foods which contain anti-inflammatory properties.
What can I do once I have already been diagnosed with RA?
There is no doubt that a healthy diet and exercises can not only prevent further joint damage but also help with current flare-ups of RA.
A balanced diet high in fibre and vegetables can fight inflammation and promote well-being.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can also promote healthy joints. These foods are:
Fermented foods like sour cabbage or kefir
Vegetables and fruit, especially broccoli, cherries, pineapple and onion
It is also advisable to avoid dairy, processed and fried foods.
Recent literature reviews also highlight the fact that gluten can also contribute to inflammation.
There are also certain excellent natural remedies which added to your diet can reduce pain and inflammation.
An excellent remedy used in India and China for RA is the bone broth which promotes healthy joints and helps with collagen production in the body.
Also, adding ginger to your tea or daily juice is an effective way to fight inflammation.
Turmeric is also a well-known remedy for inflammation reduction and natural pain relief.
Is there anything else I can do to prevent arthritis?
A healthy weight plays an important role in the arthritis prevention.
Extra weight puts more pressure on the joints, especially your knees, hips, and feet.
Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. So a person who is 20 pounds overweight has 80 pounds of extra pressure on his or her knees.
Reducing the stress on the joints by losing weight will not only improve mobility but also prevent future damage to the joints and cartilage.
If you are overweight and suffer from RA, it is important to start a well-balanced diet and exercise routines as soon as possible.
Monroe Medical’s carers are well trained in Rheumatoid Arthritis prevention.
They can also offer specialist Exercise Programmes for patients who have been diagnosed with RA.
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