It is estimated that more than a million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune joint disease. In this condition, your immune system attacks your joints, leading to pain, deformity, and immobility.
There are a number of drugs used to treat RA, such as Humira, Enbrel, and Remicade. While these medications are heavily promoted, there is still an issue of safety and effectiveness. Taking these RA drugs can expose you to detrimental risks – in one safety analysis, these three drugs increased a person’s risk of premature death. Serious side effects induced by these drugs include infection and cancer.
If you’re suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, it’s time to take a holistic approach in treating the condition. By simply altering your lifestyle, you can do wonders for your joint and overall health.
Your Diet Has a Massive Influence on Your Condition
Your diet can greatly affect your health. What you eat can worsen or ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Below are guidelines that you can use to help relieve any type of chronic inflammation or, if you’re healthy, help prevent infection:
• Eliminate sugar (especially fructose) from your diet. If you’re healthy, limit your sugar consumption to 25 grams per day. If you have a chronic disease, limit it further to 15 grams or less.
• Increase your consumption of fermented foods. These can help optimize your gut flora, which contribute to optimal health.
• Consume more unprocessed, high-quality, organic whole foods. You can find these not in supermarkets, but in local farmers’ markets. • Increase your consumption of animal-based omega-3 fats. You may obtain these from high-quality sources, such as krill oil.
Physical Activity Is Beneficial to RA Patients
Not only does RA affect your joints, but it can also cause your muscle mass to deteriorate. In time, it can affect your ability to do certain tasks like lifting or going up a flight of stairs. If not addressed, it can lead to permanent disability and cause you to lose your independence.
To avoid these dire consequences of RA, you should keep moving. In a study conducted in 2009, RA patients who did weight training for 24 weeks improved their joint function by as much as 30 percent. They also enhanced their strength by 120 percent.
If you have RA and are to start any fitness program, make sure that you do it correctly. You can inflict more damage on your joints when you work out recklessly. A good way to know if you’re exercising improperly is if you experience pain an hour after. This means you have to lessen the intensity or switch to another routine.
Make sure you stretch before any workout, especially if your joints are stiff. In cases where your joints are swollen, you can apply ice 10 minutes prior to exercise. Also, make sure that you do a well-rounded exercise routine that includes weight training, high-intensity exercise, cardio, stretching, and core training.
Joanne Dixon also writes about helpful information she gathers from online health resources like the natural health newsletter of Dr. Mercola. She is working on a series on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and how exercise can help relieve them.