Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Against Arthritis

treatment-for-arthritis1-200x300What’s common between 25-year-old Arti Jha and four-year-old Brinda? Both are my patients and they suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis just like hypothyroidism is an auto-immune disorder. This means that your body’s immune system which is supposed to protect you from foreign invaders, attacks its own cells, in this case, synovium or lining of your joints, thinking that they can harm you and begins to manufacture antibodies against it. These antibodies get recognized in the blood test as Rheumatoid factors and it can cause swelling of joints. In this condition several small joints of hands and feet get affected, though large joints like hips and knees are not immune from it. This condition doesn’t have a clear-cut genetic link and it can flare up in change of seasons.

Loud and clear symptoms

  • Inflammation of joints
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Deformity of joints

But, rheumatoid arthritis is misdiagnosed quite often. It’s often wrongly treated as gout or osteo-arthritis. In the initial stages of RA the patient feels listless, tired, has low grade fever, aches and pains in joints and if not treated promptly, it can cause permanent damage to joints.

Treatment options
Like diabetes, patients of RA have to live with it, which means they have to modify their lifestyle along with medication. The standard mode of treatment is to prescribe methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine in combination. In addition to these nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs, immunomodulators are to be used as early as possible to keep the auto-immune inflammation in control. The purpose of the treatment is to halt the damage to joints and relieve pain.

Lifestyle modifications

  1. Lose weight. Becoming overweight overburdens your joints.
    2. Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
  2. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, include nuts in your meals and go for oils like mustard, olive.
  3. Get some form of exercise. Cycling is kind to your joints.
  4. Have a healthy attitude and do some meditation. It helps manage your stress levels.

Foods to Include:

  • Fresh Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Green Tea

Food to Avoid:

  • Sugary Drinks
  • High Calorie
  • Margaraine
  • High Calorie

What should you do when arthritis flares up?

  • Identify triggers. It can be an infection or a stressful situation.
  • Discuss a plan of action with your doctor.
  • One approach would be to adjust your medications temporarily
  • Balance periods of activity with periods of rest.
  • Have a plan to deal with your obligations.
  • Communicate with your family and friends.
  • Apply a hot or cold pack to inflamed joints.
  • Practice relaxation or mind-diversion techniques.

Rheumatoid arthritis can cripple you. Early and correct diagnosis and treatment by rheumatologist is of paramount importance to keep your joints in working condition.

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Category: Pain Forum
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