Reducing Inflammation from Rheumatoid Arthritis
Ask an Expert: Should You Be Worried about Your Child's Birthmar…
The Doctors Dos and Don'ts for Putting Things 'Down There'
3 Tips for Cultivating More Gratitude and Kindness
What Is the Blue Poop Challenge -- And Should You Do It?
Is Drinking Chlorophyll Water Good for Your Health?
Can You Bring More Kindness and Compassion into Your Life?
How to Treat Summer Sandal Blisters
Is the TikTok Ab-Dance Worth Your Ten Minutes?
How to Treat Dry and Cracked Heels
How Long Should It Take for Your Food to Travel through Your Sys…
FDA-Approved Weight Loss Medication a Game Changer?
Legal Expert Wendy Murphy on the Importance of Public Uprisings
The Doctors' Best Dog Advice from Our Favorite Pet Lovers
Ask an Expert: How to Avoid Filler Fatigue
Ask an Expert: Are You Applying Sunscreen Wrong?
The Doctors Get Real about Popular TikTok Hacks
Ask an Expert: Essential Summer Sleep Tips to Beat the Heat
Ask an Expert: The Vital Post-Surgery Steps You Need to Follow
Cult Expert Rick Ross Identifies Popular Groups That Could Be Cu…
An estimated 1.3 million people in the U.S. suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a potentially debilitating disease in which the body’s immune system attacks itself for unknown reasons. There is currently no cure for RA.
“At the root of rheumatoid arthritis is the destruction that happens in the joint over time, because, literally, it’s attacking the joint lining,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains. “As that occurs, you can get fluid buildup, swelling of your joints [and] wearing down of those joints. It can become bone-on-bone pain.”
Unlike the more common osteoarthritis, which only affects joints, RA degenerates joints, tissue and organs as it progresses.
While RA affects men and women of all races, statistics show that females are nearly three times more likely to develop the autoimmune disease than their male counterparts. RA usually affects both sides of the body, and the symptoms often mirror each other. Symptoms of RA range from mild to severe, and they can differ from person to person. At the onset of RA, certain patients present with warning signs that are typically not associated with the textbook definition of the disease.
Such is the case for Tiffany, 43, who was diagnosed with RA in 2009 but had been experiencing frequent fevers and unexplained fatigue for the previous two years. “My joint and tissue pain initially presented itself only on one side of my body,” she says. “Once I started keeping a medical calendar, a pattern emerged and it showed fatigue, fevers and tenderness all occurring at the same time.”
Tiffany says her RA triggers extreme exhaustion, requiring her to take breaks from physical activity every two to three hours. “Grocery shopping, for example, can sometimes use up so much energy that I can’t even cook what I just bought,” she says.
Tiffany copes with her RA through a combination of medications, vitamins and low-impact activities, such as hiking and swimming. In addition, she started The International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis, a global non-profit organization that helps raise awareness about RA and other autoimmune diseases.
Healthy dietary choices also are important to prevent the progression of RA. Eliminating excess sugars and processed foods that cause bodily inflammation and incorporating more fish, olive oil, whole grains, fruits and vegetables may help alleviate symptoms.
Since RA affects everyone differently, a proper balance of nutrition, rest and exercise, as well as a thorough evaluation by a rheumatologist or physician trained to take care of RA patients is crucial for managing the chronic condition.