Are you looking for ways to manage your rheumatoid arthritis? If so, you’re in the right place! We’ve compiled a list of treatments to help reduce pain and inflammation from this disease.
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From medications to lifestyle changes, we’ll walk you through your options. Read on to learn more about treating rheumatoid arthritis!
Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis: Symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. Your immune system attacks the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. You may also notice nodules or lumps under your skin.
If left untreated, you can develop long-term joint damage, injury, and deformity.
Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Many factors raise the risk of a faulty immune response. That leads to chronic pain and other joint symptoms. Rheumatoid factor and other blood elements may also rise when you have this disease.
Knowing these risk factors can help you change your lifestyle and habits.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Did you know that rheumatoid arthritis affects body parts other than the joints? Respiratory diseases can also result if you don't get early treatment. They can lead to difficulty breathing, coughing, and chest pain.
Early diagnosis can make a huge difference. Aggressive management for the affected joint is also best before it's too late.
There is no direct cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but you don't need to suffer from chronic pain. Many options can help manage the symptoms and slow down the disease.
When it comes to medications, you can choose from many options. For disease control, doctors typically start by prescribing common DMARDs.
Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
DMARDs improve joint function by working on inflamed tissue. Aside from slowing down arthritis, they can reduce the pain and inflammation of the affected area.
Other agents can be taken orally, which work by blocking T-cell activation.
Clinical trials are ongoing to develop new treatments. For now, folic acid supplements may ease some side effects of existing medicines. You may need to have some blood tests if problems arise.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs ease inflammation, swelling, and joint pain. They also help reduce the risk of joint damage. They come in over-the-counter and prescription forms.
NSAIDs, when used in with DMARDs, are more effective for rheumatoid arthritis. Their ability to treat it and improve physical function rises notably.
Blood tests may help your doctor diagnose and monitor you. You may join the Arthritis Foundation as a volunteer and help people with arthritis live their best life.
Are you looking for fast-acting relief? This option may be the right choice for you because they ease symptoms quickly. Prednisone and cortisone are two of the popular options for rheumatoid arthritis. Some are taken orally, while other steroids may be injected straight into a painful joint. They're best for a flare-up or while waiting for other medications to take effect.
But know that these drugs may have severe side effects in the long run. For example, there is a big risk of developing serious heart-related problems. Consult your doctor about the pros and cons of steroids before getting them.
Physical and Occupational Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Regarding rheumatoid arthritis treatment, therapists can help. The disease affects the wrists, hands, feet, ankles, and immune system. It can also damage the knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows.
Physical therapy helps improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Hot and cold treatments and joint exercises are also great.
A therapist can suggest how to adapt daily activities to handle joint pain and stiffness. Energy-conserving techniques can also help with fatigue. Early treatment and support will impact the progression of this disease. A therapist can help people with rheumatoid arthritis with:
- Improving physical function
- Decreasing pain
- Increasing quality of life
Surgery for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are medications and lifestyle changes not enough to improve your rheumatoid arthritis? Surgery, such as joint replacement, arthroscopy, or fusion, may help in severe cases. That is where the damage is serious and medicines do not provide relief. Each option has its own risks and benefits, which you should discuss with your doctor first.
Don't take too long before you treat rheumatoid arthritis to avoid other health conditions.
Other Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be diagnosed with a single test — blood tests or tests for rheumatoid factor can help.
Apart from medications, you can do other things to relieve inflammation while preventing damage. After all, the disease affects daily activities, from waking up to going to sleep.
Dietary Changes for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Let’s take a look at dietary changes to help manage arthritis symptoms. No specific diet has been proven to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but some foods ease inflammation and improve health. An anti-inflammatory diet may decrease the risk of joint damage. You can also avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats.
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats can benefit your long-term health. Fish oil supplements, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and curcumin may also ease the pain.
Stress Management for Rheumatoid Arthritis
You must manage your stress levels to ease your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Unmanaged stress can worsen them, meaning you must find ways to keep your calm. You can try relaxation techniques, yoga, tai chi, and exercise.
Regular exercise can also reduce inflammation, helping your joints become flexible and your muscles stronger.
Assistive Devices for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Assistive devices may not treat rheumatoid arthritis directly, but they can ease the burden notably. These devices can relieve joint stress and decrease strain, and some examples include:
- Canes - provide balance and stability when walking and take pressure off of painful joints
- Walkers - support weight and provide stability
- Splints - reduce strain on painful joints while helping keep them in a proper position
Many options are available for rheumatoid arthritis. Medications like NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and DMARDs can help. Clinical trials have shown their efficacy and safety for most people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Physical and occupational therapies can improve joint pain and stiffness. On the other hand, surgery can help correct deformities caused by the disease. There are also other ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis, like dietary changes and stress management. You may use assistive devices and seek help from support groups too.
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For Best Results Get Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis Workbook