Because it is an autoimmune disease, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can vary widely from person to person and it may affect different parts of the body. Typically, rhuematoid arthritis begins between the ages of 40-60, and it can strike men or women in almost equal numbers. Something causes the immune system to start attacking itself, although we don’t really know why.
The joints are most commonly hit, and many R.A. patients complain of pain in both hands, feet and ankle pain, and visible swelling and redness in the joints. The typical “pattern” of rheumatoid arthritis is one of flare ups, which can be very painful and debilitating, and then remissions, in which the patient feels great. During remissions, you may be completely symptom free!
It’s a “progressive” disease, meaning that the typical person with R.A. can expect it to cause degeneration of the joints, and in some people it leads to deformity or crippling of the hands.
It’s this progressive nature of rheumatoid arthritis that makes it so crucial to do everything in your power to decrease your overall body inflammation. By doing so, you can help decrease the severity of the attacks on your system.
If you’ve just been diagnosed, the good news is that there’s much you can do naturally to slow down the progression of the disease.
Systemic inflammation is often a sign of imbalance, either chemically, hormonally, or emotionally. Chemically, the easiest thing you can do to re-balance yourself is watch your diet. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is the simplest way to start feeling better. It isn’t a quick fix! Food was the original medicine. In my opinion, our modern food growing and processing methods have done more to contribute to the rise of autoimmune disorders than any single thing in the last 100 years. Taking control of this aspect of your life will make you overall much healthier, and I’ve heard of some people completely stopping the progression of their symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
There are also herbs for arthritis that can naturally lower inflammation; ginger and tumeric are great examples. I was talking with someone who suffers from degenerative arthritis and they traveled to India on vacation. They told me that their arthritis symptoms disappeared completely during the trip! They attributed it to all the curries and spices they ate while gone.
If this is something you are interested in, I encourage you to browse this site further. Over there on the left is a button marked Arthritis Diet. That gives you lots of information on eating to decrease pain, along with links to specific information on anti-inflammatory foods and the inflammation diet.
Medical management of rhuematoid arthritis includes immune suppressing drugs, NSAID’s, and pain relievers. For some patients, these drugs have worked wonders. For others, they haven’t helped. Deciding to go the pharmaceutical route is a decision you must make with the advice of your doctor, weighing the pros and cons of the side effects with the possible benefits. Please, don’t make the decision lightly. Make it by learning about the drugs recommended, and do your research.
The natural remedies here and on other websites may be enough to help you, given time.