Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory joint disease that affects over 2 million Americans. Though 70% of those afflicted are women, men usually have the most severe symptoms.
The disease usually starts between the ages of 30 and 50 in one of the smaller joints of the fingers, hands or wrists. Over time, if not managed, RA can spread throughout the body causing permanent joint damage and severely limited range of motion.
The cause of RA is unknown, but most experts agree that it’s related to a breakdown of the immune system. The body’s immune system is either unable to produce enough antibodies to prevent viruses from attacking the joints or the antibodies produced don’t have the discretionary power to determine the difference between viruses and healthy cells and, therefore, destroy both.
Besides the common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms of pain, inflammation and stiffness, the area around joints may become swollen, tender and warm to the touch. Sufferers may also experience loss of appetite, sleep, fatigue and depression.
Unable to find a cure, sufferers were often told by the medical community to learn how to live it and were prescribed controversial “painkillers” with serious side effects. But as more evidence proves diet and lifestyle changes can both help prevent the disease and provide relief of symptoms, a more holistic approach is being taken and many with RA are living happier, healthier lives.
Moderate exercise will help to strengthen bones and muscles, improve flexibility and relieve stress and depression. Walking, swimming and yoga are excellent ways to stay active with a minimum of stress. But don’t push too hard. Learn to relax and get plenty of rest.
Eat a diet low in saturated fats (over consumption of red meat increases inflammation and arthritis risk), low in calories (excess weight adds stress to the joints) and rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables (for immune building carotenoids) and fresh fish such as salmon (for potent anti-inflammatory omega 3 oil) A natural, whole food supplement program will also help you feel your best and stay healthy.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be managed through diet, the right kind of supplementation and other lifestyle changes. The key is to get healthy and fit by eating right, exercising moderately, avoiding injury and reducing stress, fatigue and depression.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.