Is rheumatoid arthritis causing your achy joints?

Is rheumatoid arthritis causing your achy joints?

Many people think of arthritis as something that affects only the elderly. But according to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 different types of this common condition, including one type of chronic arthritis that typically affects people between the ages of 25 and 55: rheumatoid arthritis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that arthritis is one of the most common conditions in America with one in five people being diagnosed by a physician each year. But how can you tell when swelling or pain signifies a stiff joint or something more serious?

“All types of arthritis cause pain from inflammation, which can lead to damage in the joints,” says Dr. Ellen Voronov, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation who treats patients at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks your body’s own tissues.”

Although studies are still determining what causes rheumatoid arthritis, genetics, the environment and hormones may play a role, Dr. Voronov says.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of chronic arthritis that typically occurs in joints on both sides of the body, such as hands, wrists, shoulders, knees, ankles and feet.

Voronov says different types of arthritis require different treatments, which is why a proper and timely diagnosis is so important. She advises people to see their doctor if the following symptoms have lasted for more than two weeks:

  • Ongoing joint pain
  • Joint swelling or stiffness
  • Warmth and redness in a joint
  • Problems moving a joint

In addition to affecting the joints, rheumatoid arthritis may occasionally affect the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood or nerves.

Dr. Voronov says there are many different ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis, including medications, rest and exercise, and surgery to correct damage to the joint. The type of treatment will depend on several factors, including the patient’s age, overall health, medical history and severity of the arthritis.

She offers the following tips to give your joints much needed relief at home:

  1. Manage any underlying chronic conditions, such as diabetes
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Start practicing Pilates or yoga to gain flexibility
  4. Exercise in a warm pool to avoid pressure on the joints
  5. Eat a diet high in fiber, vegetables, fish, nuts and whole grains
  6. Reduce your intake of red meat, dairy and eggs
  7. Avoid tobacco and alcohol
  8. During a flare-up, oral or topical anti-inflammatory medications may be beneficial

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis is a very painful and crippling disease. It can destroy joints, causing them to be inflamed, and painful. My dad has Rheumatoid arthritis, and has been living with it for two years. He is fifty-six years old. I find that it hurts him to move, but when he pushes through and keeps moving, he seems to get better. I also find that when I take him on walks, his condition seems to be better. But when he goes into the washroom, he has trouble. When my brother and I saw him having trouble, we tried taking him to yoga classes, and included my mom in the activity, that way we could all do it as a family. That tip helped a lot with my dad’s flexibility, thanks for suggesting it! All that we desire is that he would have some pain subside.

  2. I was 36 years old and my 2nd child was one year old when I noticed one of my fingers was inflamed, swollen. The swelling wouldn’t subside. Tests showed RA (Rheumatoid arthritis). Then progressively other joints started to get affected and I had much pain, dressing myself was very painful. I would ring my mother in tears not knowing what was happening to my body. I tried numerous medicines nothing worked. Finally, the rheumatologist suggested i try natural medicines and suggested NewLife Clinic, i immediately ordered their Rheumatoid Arthritis Herbal formula and start on the 3 months treatment plan, the treatment is totally incredible, i had a total decline of symptoms with this treatment, the pains, stiffness, swelling, body weakness and skin redness has subsided. Visit NewLife Clinic website ww w. newlifeherbalclinic. com or email info@ newlifeherbalclinic. com. Incredible!

About the Author

Lisa Parro
Lisa Parro

Lisa Parro, health enews contributor, is manager of content strategy for Advocate Aurora Health. A former journalist, Lisa has been in health care public relations since 2008 and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She and her family live in Chicago’s western suburbs.