What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that primary affects the synovial joints. These are the joints that are considered flexible joints. It is a painful disease and can be a very debilitating condition if not treated properly and sometimes even when it is treated properly.
What are some of the things that I can do to the fight the signs of RA?
Because RA is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body attacks itself, fighting RA symptoms can be very difficult. However, studies have been done to highlight healthy habits that can help ward off some of the symptoms associated with RA. These habits maintained over a long period of time will help them to become part of your lifestyle which is the ultimate goal when it comes to living with RA.
Listed below are 5 healthy habits you can do to fight the signs of RA:
- Have a positive outlook on life and your disease- RA is not who you are, it is something that you have. Maintaining the proper philosophy and attitude related to the disease is important for the treatment of RA. If you don't believe that it can get better, your body tends to respond to that and will continue to feel the effects of the pain on a more regular basis than if you believed. Having a good attitude will also help you to further seek the proper treatment because you actually believe the symptoms can be relieved and will do what it takes to find out how.Maintain the proper diet- Notice that it doesn't say to maintain a healthy diet.
- The proper diet for RA is somewhat different from what a person that is trying to eat healthy may be. The proper diet for RA would include a diet rich in fish, vegetables, and healthy oils, which is also what the Mediterranean diet emphasizes. What you eat is always important when it comes to managing most disease processes and it's no different here.
- Get moving- Exercise is something that we were all put here to do and it's not just for the "health" of it. Well maybe it is. Exercising not only can take your mind off of the pain for a while but strength training and conditioning show positive effects in the person with RA. Exercising and training smart is beneficial to your health in many different ways so consult with a trainer and with your physician to find out which exercises can help optimize your dealing with RA.
- Find a support group- Support groups not only function to help you when you're not feeling well and when you are, they also pose as a resource to help some of the ailments you may be experiencing. People with RA are actually living with the disease and can be a great help to assisting with different types of therapies that may not have been mentioned to you by a physician.
- Don't smoke- Smoking is harmful for joints in many different ways and it actually can exacerbate the disease process which will lead to further pain and decrease the amount of time that it takes for RA to have an effect on your body. Because RA is an autoimmune disease, it requires the body to respond positively even when it wants to respond negatively so smoking takes away some of the body's ability to do so.
While all of these are helpful hints and habits, it is going to be important to maintain them over an extended period of time to see their results. Not all things work for all people but you have to start somewhere to find out what works best for you. Doing nothing about the disease will not make it disappear and may even make it worse, so it is important to seek treatment right away. Consulting with a specialist is always an important part of your health and should be done. However, doing all that you can do outside of the office plays just as an important role as well. Having a positive philosophy regarding the disease will not only help your attitude and further your actions but it can change your results and ultimately improve your lifestyle.
- Baillière's Clinical Rheumatology:Vol 8, Iss 1, February 1994:Page 161:Exercise and Rheumatic Disease
- "Rheumatoid Arthritis and Complementary Health Approaches". National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- Aidan J. Hampson; Iulius Axelrod & Maurizio Grimaldi, "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants", issued 2003-10-07, assigned to The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services