Proper management of RA means paying attention to some of the smaller details that make a huge difference in how you feel and move. Use the following information to make the needed changes that will increase your quality of life.
What you eat on a daily basis can contribute to better health and relief of the severity of RA symptoms. You may have items right now in your refrigerator that will help you in the battle to reduce pain and swelling. Below you will find important dietary information that can make a big difference in how you feel and enjoy your favorite activities in life.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fat that is easy for the body to break down and use as a source of energy. It is known to help boost the immune system, protect the cardiovascular system from damage, stabilize nerve health and reduce inflammation. Here a few of the foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid:
- Brussels sprouts
- Most fresh fruit
- Pasteurized dairy products with omega-3 added
When it comes to foods that help manage RA, those packed with antioxidants work wonders. Antioxidants attack free radicals in the body that are thought to cause serious diseases like cancer. They do a lot to keep skin from prematurely aging. Antioxidants offer total immune system support and a natural inflammation reduction aid. A few examples of antioxidant rich foods are:
- Russet potatoes
Increase Vegetables and Fruits
Those RA patients that have opted to begin a vegetarian diet that includes fresh fish seem to have a better experience in managing the symptoms. You will not have to completely go vegetarian or vegan, but it can prove helpful to cut down on meat and increase fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Turmeric is a yellow-colored powder ground from the root of the turmeric plant. The turmeric plant, in the same family as ginger, is grown in India and is a common ingredient in curries. Turmeric is known to reduces pain, inflammation and stiffness related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Managing RA Symptoms With Exercise
Diseases that attack mobility and strength need to be fought back by endurance building. Making your body stronger will help minimize the discomfort you feel with RA pain and swelling. This does not mean you need to go crazy and start rigorous exercise routines. They should be low impact and no more aggressive than necessary to avoid damaging or stressing the joints. It is possible to increase your endurance and mobility through exercise without going overboard and causing unneeded pain.
Importance of the Stretch
Before starting any exercise it is important to loosen the muscles. Try taking a warm bath or shower and do a few basic stretches on your legs, arms, shoulders and back. You will less prone to injury when exercising.
Low-Impact Exercise Is Key
Getting your heart rate up at least twice during an exercise routine is great for your cardio, but it can be done using low-impact exercises in combination with walking. Below is a list of a few low-impact exercise ideas:
- Water aerobics
- Line dancing
- Low-grade hiking
- Private Trainers
If motivation is a factor consider hiring a personal trainer. They can direct you to the best exercises to help build strength and stamina. You will be less likely to start an exercise routine and give it up right away.
Protect Your Joints Every Day
Good management of RA means incorporating ways to protect the joints in your body. There are a few simple things you can do to keep from having excessive wear and tear on your joints, which can set up situations for increased pain and swelling.
Break large projects into smaller, more reasonable chunks that do not take a lot of time and energy. Each milestone you reach will make you feel successful. Understand and take note when you are having a bad day and limit your activity.
Reduce Use of Joints
When RA symptoms are flaring up reduce the use of joints that are inflamed, swollen and hurting. Install large cabinet door handles, rest books in your palm instead of gripping and shove doors open with the shoulder instead of the hands.
Purchase the Right Equipment
Buy can openers with large handles and are easy for anyone to operate. There are many items sold today that are marketed for those that suffer from arthritis. Take advantage of the comfort they provide.
Treatments and Medications
There are prescription and over-the-counter medications that can be used to help control symptoms, but there is no magic cure for RA. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn and others) and steroids like Prednisone and Medrol are used regularly to reduce swelling and keep pain at manageable levels. These medications can come in many forms, but it is the regimen of inflammation reducers, steroids and pain relievers that make up the medicinal treatments for RA.
Occupational and Physical Therapy
Helping a patient retain mobility and independence is the goal of any doctor. Occupational therapy is often recommended in cases where it is getting difficult to use the hands and legs for basic life activities like dressing or sweeping the floor. Physical therapy is recommended if major body movements are getting difficult. The therapists know how to help exercise the muscles so that you become more limber and able to take care of yourself with as little assistance as possible.
Treatments such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy are introduced at times to help with pain management. It is best to discuss the usefulness of alternative treatments before beginning. Acupuncture does seem to help stimulate natural painkilling hormones and hypnotherapy can help a patient activity push past pain thresholds.
Take Care of Your Health
There are some special considerations and steps to make to safeguard your overall health with RA. Below are a few of these:
There is a unique eye condition with RA patients that can lead to blindness. It can be managed with eye drops, so it is important to get a thorough eye exam every year.
If you smoke and have been diagnosed with RA it is the perfect time to quit. It has been shown that those who smoke suffer more joint damage and pain while actively smoking cigarettes.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Joints and connective tissue that is already stressed and inflamed added weight makes it more difficult to stay mobile. Try and maintain a healthy body weight to avoid added strain.
Find Relax Time
Take time out to relax if pain and discomfort hit. It is important to recharge periodically during the day.
Being diagnosed and living with RA will prove to offer difficult days, but you can take charge and live life on your terms. The more you take care of your health and fight back the stronger you will feel daily. You can do this and live a full life!