By Rebecca Evans.
What comes to your mind when you think about rheumatoid arthritis?
Probably incurable discomfort, unexplained pain, limited mobility and throbbing joints. But what is this disease, precisely? The Arthritis Foundation defines rheumatoid arthritis as an autoimmune problem. Scientist and physicians still don’t know for sure why or how it’s caused but it’s clear that is has to do with the immune system at some level. The immune system usually keeps your body safe from infections and biological intruders but when it breaks down it can start to go against the body’s joints. This causes swelling, pain, and lack of mobility. This happens most often in the smaller (hands, feet, wrists, and ankles) unlike other kinds of joint pain.
Is it a hereditary disease?
Science has been researching this for years but it does not have a final answer yet. It’s recommended for you to lead a healthier life (not smoking, going easy on unhealthy fats, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress) if any of your closest family members have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the past. These measures are preventive and they can’t guarantee you won’t suffer from rheumatoid arthritis if it is present in your family’s history. But even if you end up suffering from rheumatoid arthritis that kind of behavior will lessen the symptoms and make the condition easier to deal with.
How does rheumatoid arthritis start?
It usually starts with pain and tenderness. Also redness and swelling (but they’re not as common in the beginning). rheumatoid arthritis’ symptoms include:
- Joint Pain. Most commonly on the smaller joints (hands and wrists). It can start as daily morning stiffness that lasts around half an hour.
- Fatigue. Feeling tired for no apparent reason.
- Lack of Appetite. Inflammatory processes make it harder to enjoy or wish food, they often cause nausea.
- Low-grade Fever. Also a consequence of inflammation. It can cause head and body aches.
How long can each episode last?
Knowing what to expect will help you face the symptoms successfully and keep your life going on. The time frame has to do with how quickly you get treatment and with the kind of treatment you’re getting. Untreated, flares can last for weeks of months. Treatment makes them significantly shorter (weeks to days). Always get treatment, that is key, always address the flare as best as you can.
How Do You Relieve Arthritis?
The first line of attack is to get yourself mentally ready. Know what will happen and what you can do about it. This is true about all chronic conditions. You can’t avoid them but you can learn how to live in a way that won’t make your life misery. Chronic means that western medicine knows no way of curing them (the best it can do is to treat some symptoms), but western medicine is not the only game in town, so go for alternative medicine. Some holistic treatments include:
- Physical therapy. Get the right exercises, strengthen your joins so you can lessen pain.
- Natural remedies. Heat and cold therapy helps with swelling. osteoarthritis and meditation have also been known to help and they help with rheumatoid arthritis’s stress. Try Tai Chi as well. If you relax your mind you relax your body and you get away from pain.
- Eat right. Superfood and supplements will help a great deal. Start with fish oil. Always go for whole and healthy foods (fish, nuts) with a high Omega-3 content that lubricates your joints and reduces rheumatoid arthritis’s inflammations.
You can also try a cream like Super Blue Stuff OTC. It’s natural and it relieves pain. It smells good, it’s very soothing which is more important if you sensitive to scent or color. It’s all natural and available over-the-counter. It provides relief in a matter of minutes. And it will bring you benefits without the nasty side-effects included by traditional treatments for this condition.
Keep in mind that most treatments for immune system diseases usually involve the use of steroids. They will help the condition and alleviate many of the symptoms but they also have lots of very serious side-effects, especially if you need to use them long-term (and you will, this is a chronic disease that can’t be cured, only treated).
Rebecca Evans is a nurse and a health writer. Her work can be seen at geriatricnursing.org.