Tips For Taking Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication
Rheumatoid arthritis medication is one of the best ways to get relief from the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis pain can be chronic and debilitating. Sometimes the pain is so intense that it stops you from living your normal day to day life and from activities that you enjoy.
Therapy, and diet and exercise changes can help but in some cases the pain is so severe that medication is required. Fortunately, there are many rheumatoid arthritis medications available. Each medication is designed to work best with a particular set of symptoms and conditions so it is important to use the right rheumatoid arthritis medication.
Some people respond differently to the same medication so it is important to find the right one for your body and condition and to know from the beginning that there may be a period of trial and error before you find the right medication.
One of the most common types of medication for rheumatoid arthritis is a group of medications called NSAIDs. These medications are designed to reduce inflammation and to decrease pain and improve joint function. Many rheumatoid arthritis medications are in the NSAID category. Aspirin is one of the oldest NSAID drugs.
The medication your doctor prescribes will be based on a combination of the severity of your symptoms and how advanced your disease is. Many of the rheumatoid arthritis medications work by blocking certain enzymes. In many cases they can be administered in low doses — your doctor will pay close attention to the level of drugs you need to take because if the dosage is too high there can be horrible side effects.
Another type of drugs available as rheumatoid arthritis medications are corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory and immune-regulatory. They may be taken orally or through an intravenous solution. Your physician will administer the medication that is appropriate for your disease and how you prefer to take medication.
Another medication available for rheumatoid arthritis is Methotrexate. Methotrexate is less common than the other two medications previously mentioned. Some doctors prescribe it to people who don’t respond to other rheumatoid arthritis medications. Rheumatoid arthritis can be chronic and painful so having a variety of medications which can be prescribed is a great relief.
It may take some time to find the one which best helps your condition but it will be well worth the effort. There is no need to live with chronic pain when relief is available.
Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief
If you have recently received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, you are probably seeking some form of rheumatoid arthritis pain relief. Arthritis is painful and having to live with long-term pain can be traumatic. Many people mistakenly believe that rheumatoid arthritis pain relief doesn’t exist, or that you can only hope for minimal relief. Fortunately, real rheumatoid arthritis pain relief does exist and there are many treatment options are available.
The Importance of Early Treatment
One of the best ways to get arthritis pain relief is to seek early treatment. Early intervention, with certain medications, may help you avoid the degenerative joint damage that can come with rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the disabilities which are related to rheumatoid arthritis can be avoided with early treatment. Some studies show that almost one-third of people who have rheumatoid arthritis are disabled within three years of their diagnosis. Because of these studies intense, early intervention is recommended to help patients get arthritis pain relief and to ameliorate pain of the disease.
Who Needs Early Treatment?
Consulting with your doctor is vital when deciding whether or not to seek early treatment and to determine which type of arthritis pain relief is best for you. Not everyone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis is at risk for disability and joint damage. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best course of action for you. If you are not at risk of joint damage you can concentrate on rheumatoid arthritis pain relief.
Some medication will be targeted for avoiding joint damage while other medications are designed to provide arthritis pain relief. Some medications don’t help avoid joint damage, but they will lessen the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. For example, they can provide arthritis back pain relief but you may still have long-term damage to the bones.
However, not very many rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are able to take these medications. Most people, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will need to take medications which relieve pain but have lesser side effects. If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, it is vital that you stay active in seeking the best treatment. If you don’t feel your doctor is giving you the best advice you should seek a second opinion.
There are many options for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief and you should realize how many options are available to you. You must take charge of your own health and be certain you are getting the best possible health care.
Long Term Remedy To Knee Pain Arthritis
If you are suffering from arthritis, resulting in knee joint pain, then you already know how it can stop you from pursuing all the physical activities that you like.
It is not something that happens to any particular group of people. It can happen to anyone, especially those who participate in activities and sports that are prone to injuries that lead to joint cartilage damage.
- Arthritis Knee Joint Pain is caused by 3 Problems In The Knee.
- Worn-out and Broken-down Cartilage.
- Swelling and Inflammation.
- Very little, or No lubrication on the Dry brittle joints
These 3 knee problems together create the most horrible pain and inflammation cycle of sheer hell. It’s something you cannot manage, or escape from, on your own.
Here is What Happens
The damaged cartilage breaks down into razor sharp needles similar to microscopic glass shards that start jabbing into the knee joint causing swelling and inflammation.
The swelling and inflammation causes the knee joint to lose most of its lubrication, setting your pain nerves on fire.
The resultant pain weakens the knee muscles placing a huge strain on the already damaged cartilage – breaking off even more pieces.
The pain and inflammation cycle is put into place causing your knee pain to get worse and worse with every passing moment.
All conventional arthritis treatments and medications may help in reducing the pain but they do nothing to address the root of the problem.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), the second most common form of arthritis, is a disease of many joints. And unlike osteoarthritis, RA is known as a systemic disease; it can affect every system in the body. It is an autoimmune disease brought about when the immune system attacks the body. RA is a much more complicated and involved form of arthritis than osteoarthritis.
In its mildest form, RA is characterized as joint pain caused by inflammation of the joint lining. In serious cases, RA can cause painful, deformed joints and can harm the lungs, blood vessels, and other parts of the body.
In its most severe form, rheumatoid arthritis results in deformity of the joints. But with early medical intervention, most people with RA can lead a normal life. It is important to treat the disease correctly in the early years so the joints will work well after the disease subsides.
Treating rheumatoid arthritis can be complicated. It requires a doctor who is up to date on all the latest treatments. It would be in your best interest to seek the help of an arthritis specialist, a rheumatologist.
In RA, the white blood cells of the immune system attack the joint lining (synovium) as if it were a foreign object. Inflammation occurs in the joint membrane and enzymes are released that slowly damage the joint and surrounding structures. White blood cells break down collagen and bone by producing high levels of free radicals.
Attack of the White Blood Cells
- The white blood cells of the immune system attack the synovial membrane (joint lining).
- The attacked membrane becomes inflamed and painful and the joint capsule swells. The synovial cells grow and divide abnormally.
- The abnormal cells then attack the surrounding tissue, mostly the bone and cartilage.
- The joint space narrows and the joint’s supporting structures weaken. Simultaneously, the abnormal cells release enzymes that eat away at the bone and cartilage, causing joint breakdown and scarring.
- Eventually, the joint deteriorates and becomes deformed.
Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The symptoms of RA vary from person to person. It typically begins with minor symptoms and slowly progresses.
The first thing you may experience is a dull ache, stiffness, and swelling in two complementary joints (both knees, both wrists, etc). Affected areas of the body include feet, ankles, knees, hips, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers. The fingers and wrists are the most common areas affected by RA.
- Pain, warmth, redness, swelling, tightness in a joint
- Swelling of 3 or more joints for 6 or more weeks
- Joint pain or stiffness lasting longer than an hour upon arising or after prolonged activity
- Joints affected in a symmetrical pattern
- Loss of mobility
- Joint erosion visible on an x-ray
- General soreness and aching
- A general feeling of malaise
- Periodic low-grade fever and/or sweats
- Fatigue and weakness, especially in the early afternoon
- Difficulty sleeping
- Rheumatoid nodules (pea-shaped bumps) under the skin (usually around the elbows, each bump is inflammation of a small blood vessel) blood test showing the presence of rheumatoid factor (an abnormal substance found in the blood of about 80% of RA patients) Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The progression of RA causes joint deformity and can result in joint contractures (the inability to completely straighten or bend a joint). As mentioned earlier, it is very important to get treatment early in the disease before it has time to progress.
Early treatment reduces inflammation and stops the damage. Pain killers reduce the pain but not the arthritis. In fact, pain helps to protect the joints by limiting their use. Pain serves the purpose of temporarily slowing down the body part to allow it to better heal itself. It is a sign for a need to rest. It’s important to treat the pain by treating the inflammation that causes the pain. Heavy duty pain killers should be avoided.
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment involves both rest and exercise. If you’re tired or aching, rest is recommended. Rest reduces inflammation. But joint stiffness and weakening muscles can result from too much rest. It’s a balancing act. Moderation is your best guideline. If you experience too much pain, stop what you’re doing. If you don’t have much problem with an activity, continue on. As a rule, if you have continued pain two hours after exercising, you’ve over done it.
Your doctor or therapist may prescribe a splint to help rest your joint. You may only have to wear the splint at night. As the joint improves, the splint will no longer be necessary. As you begin using the joint more, start out slowly by progressing to more and more activity. If you’re following an exercise program, focus on exercises or activities that build good muscle tone, not exercises that build great muscle strength. Pool therapy is a great way to build muscle tone. The water allows you to exercise without putting too much stress on your joints.
If you’ve worked with a physical therapist or an occupational therapist, they’ll develop an exercise program for you to do at home. It’s your responsibility to maintain an exercise and rest program at home. You need to make it a daily routine so that you can strengthen and protect your joints for life.
Almost all rheumatoid arthritis sufferers take some type of medication for years after being diagnosed with the disease. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) should be prescribed early in the disease process. They work by altering the behaviour of the immune system.
Drugs similar to aspirin are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), are often used to reduce pain and inflammation. If your doctor is a rheumatologist, he will be aware of the latest medications for successfully treating your RA.
Medications aren’t without their side effects. Discuss this with your doctor prior to starting any new medications so you know what to expect. If you’re experiencing unpleasant side effects, your doctor may be able to switch your medication to something more tolerable.
Surgery can restore function to damaged joints. But this, too, carries risks. Discuss this option thoroughly with your doctor before deciding to go this route.
Healing Foods for Arthritis
Proteins are made up of amino acids that are used by the body after they are broken down when digested. Proteins are the building blocks of the enzymes and hormones that help regulate bodily functions. They maintain the body’s immune system, which helps to fight infection and build and repair damaged tissues. They also provide energy for the body.
Carbohydrates in Healing Foods
Carbohydrates are the major source of energy for your body’s muscles and metabolism. Carbohydrates come from whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, legumes, and nuts. Pasta, rice, and potatoes are complex carbohydrates that should be eaten less frequently and in small portions.
Fats in Healing Foods
Fats consist of substances called fatty acids and glycerol, which binds the fatty acids together. Fats are used by the body for energy. Your body needs fats to help build, strengthen, and repair tissues, but the excess fat you eat is stored in your body, leading to weight gain and increased risk of disease. Fat contains twice the number of calories per grams as carbohydrates or fats, so it is important to reduce the amount of fats you consume, especially saturated fats from animal sources.
Sources of fat include meat, whole-milk dairy products, peanuts, seeds, nuts, and oils. Avoid fats or eat in moderation.
Vitamins and Minerals in Healing Foods
Vitamins and minerals are necessary to build strong bones and muscles, and to ensure your body functions properly. If you eat a varied diet, chances are you’re getting all your daily essential vitamins and minerals. If you don’t eat a well balanced diet, supplements may be helpful. Numerous studies have linked poor nutrition to rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, and other forms of arthritis. Good nutrition is an important part of the fight against arthritis.
There’s also evidence that careful use of supplements can be very helpful. If supplements are needed, select one that contains 50-100% of the recommended daily allowance for the various vitamins and minerals (such as One-a-Day, Centrum, or generic or store brands). There’s no need to take mega doses unless your doctor prescribes it. Some vitamins and minerals taken in excess can create health problems and may even be toxic. They may interact negatively with your other medications. Always consult with your physician before taking any supplements.
Drink plenty of water. Six to eight glasses a day to help flush impurities out of your body. Keep your body well hydrated for a healthy system.
Antioxidants and Healing Foods
Vitamin A and carotenes are very effective in fighting free radicals. Vitamin A is needed for the growth and repair of body tissues, protects all mucous membranes, and creates stronger immune function. Cortisone drugs, frequently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, decrease the amount of vitamin A in your body. The body gets vitamin A from food sources or manufactures it through the conversion of carotenes.
Carotenoids are found mostly in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as apricots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe and other melons, mangoes, papaya, peaches, and winter squash, as well as dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, collard greens, parsley, and other leafy greens. Vitamin A can be found in liver, turkey, milk, eggs, and other foods of animal origin.
Because high levels of Vitamin A can be toxic, it’s usually safer to increase your intake of carotenes (fruits and vegetables), which will be converted into sufficient levels of vitamin A by your body. Carotenes protect cells from free-radical damage.
Vitamin C works together with vitamin E to find and stabilize free radicals so they’re no longer dangerous. At least some of this antioxidant is found in every kind of fruit and vegetable. Sources of vitamin C in fruit include cantaloupe, guava, grapefruit, papaya, kiwifruit, oranges, mangoes, raspberries, pineapples, bananas, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Vegetables highest in vitamin C include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, asparagus, potatoes, and red peppers. Because vitamin C is heat sensitive, eat fruits and vegetables raw or lightly cooked to get the maximum benefit. Researchers have reported vitamin C may help halt the progression of osteoarthritis. And in some cases, it’s been found to decrease OA pain.
Vitamin E, another antioxidant, plays a role in reducing pain and controlling the free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in and around the joint. It also stabilizes molecules within your cartilage. The primary sources of this antioxidant are nuts, seeds, whole grains, and some vegetable oils. Good dietary sources are sunflower seeds, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, seeds, nuts, green beans, avocados, dried prunes, peanut butter, and wheat germ oil. High doses of vitamin E can be toxic.
Read All Labels For Recommended Dosage
Selenium is an essential mineral with antioxidant properties and works to control free radicals. It makes vitamin E more effective and helps keep the immune system functioning properly. Selenium can be found in whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, cracked wheat bread, sunflower seeds, poultry, organ meats, swordfish, salmon, tuna, oysters, and shrimp. Selenium levels in food vary, depending in part how much of the mineral was in the ground where the food was grown.
Boron, a trace mineral is often recommended for your daily supplements. Boron helps regulate calcium in your bones and maintain healthy joints. Some studies have shown that the incidence of osteoarthritis is less common in populations where there is a higher level of boron in the soil. Boron is found in apples, pears, grapes, peaches, leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, and almonds.
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus used in bone formation. It’s essential for preventing bone loss and muscle weakness. New research has found that mild deficiencies may actually speed up the rate at which osteoarthritis progresses. Those with adequate amounts of vitamin D are less likely to develop OA of the hip or experience hip fractures.
Vitamin D can be synthesized in your body through direct sun exposure for about 20 minutes per day. Older people and those with dark skin may need longer skin exposure for maximum benefit. The sun can hit an area the size of the back of your hand, or any other part of your body, but it must contact your skin directly. It isn’t effective through glass, clothing, or sunscreen. Good food sources of vitamin D include fortified milk, cod liver oil, egg yolks, butter, cheese, salmon, and mackerel.
High Doses Of Vitamin D Can Be Toxic
Green Tea is well known for its powerful antioxidant properties. It’s been linked to prevention of certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. Several studies suggest that it also protects against cartilage breakdown present in osteoarthritis. Unfermented green tea leaves are rich in catechin polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants and disease fighters. The potent catechins block enzymes that destroy cartilage. Green tea can also control inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis.
Besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, catechins can kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
Green tea comes from the same plant as black and oolong teas. What makes green tea different is the processing method. The leaves of green tea go through very little processing. The leaves are steamed and unfermented, which prevents the powerful properties of the catechin from being oxidized. Black and oolong tea leaves are fermented and the catechin properties are broken down into compounds that lose their disease fighting effectiveness.
The less popular White Tea also comes from the same plant as green, black, and oolong tea (the Camellia sinensis plant). The leaves of white tea are harvested before the leaves have fully opened, when the buds are still covered by fine, white hairs. White tea, which is unfermented, undergoes even less processing than green tea. Thus it is retaining more of its antioxidant properties. The flavour of white tea is milder than green tea, with a light, sweet taste. White tea contains less caffeine than coffee and other teas, even less than green tea.
Controlling Inflammation With Healing Foods
Inflammation is your body’s response to tissue damage or to overuse of a diseased joint. And it’s what makes your joints feel warm, sore, stiff, and swollen. After tissue injury, white blood cells rush to the injured area to remove damaged cells and attack infection. The white blood cells produce substances which start biochemical reactions, one of which is inflammation. The white blood cells also produce free radicals that can damage cartilage. In arthritis, inflammation still persists long after the initial injury or illness is gone. Fatty acids can play a role in the inflammation response.
Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid blocks your white blood cells production of pro-inflammatory substances, while omega-6 fatty acid does just the opposite. Omega-6, in most cases, can increase inflammation and should be avoided.
Omega-3 fatty acid is the best natural inflammation fighter, and fish oil is the best of the omega-3s. Omega-3 is found in marine plants such as algae, plankton, and seaweed. The fish that eat these plants then become a source of omega-3 as well.
Coldwater ocean fish have the greatest amount of omega-3: wild salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, Atlantic sturgeon, rainbow trout, shark, and anchovies. Deep frying your fish destroys omega-3 fatty acids. You can get omega-3 as a supplement, also known as fish oil.
Caution: fish oil thins the blood. Consult with your physician before taking fish oil supplements, especially if you are currently on blood thinning medication. Omega-3s are also found in green vegetables, nuts, seeds, tofu, and whole grains.
Most omega-6 fatty acids should be avoided, but there is one omega-6 that may alleviate inflammation. Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid, has been shown in studies to reduce joint pain, tenderness, and inflammation. In a study of over 50 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, consumption of 2.8 grams of GLA for six months significantly improved joint stiffness, pain, and grip strength. But be cautious- in some people, GLA can trigger inflammation. GLA is found in black currant oil, evening primrose oil, and borage seed oil. GLA isn’t found in high concentrations in the food we eat, so supplements are the best source, usually 200-500mg.
Avoid omega-6 fatty acids (such as linoleic acid), which are found in salad and cooking oil- corn, safflower, and sunflower oils. Linoleic acid is used to make fast food, and large amounts are fed to cattle that eventually end up on your dinner table. Once it’s in your body, linoleic acid converts into a rachidonic acid, which your body uses to build the substance that triggers inflammation.