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RHEUMATOID Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints.

Inflammation leads to pain, redness, swelling, deformity, degeneration and destruction of the joints.

Why some persons do not have much problem with arthritis, while others are miserable with the effects of this disease is related to degree of insult the person’s DNA had since infancy.

The predisposition to one illness or another greatly depends on how healthy or damaged our DNA is.

Smokers, for instance, have DNA ravaged by the toxic substances from tobacco and, hence, are much more prone to develop various forms of illnesses, including cancer.

Arthritis is also a result of compromised DNA that leads to impairment of the immune system, ultimately causing this metabolic inflammatory joint disease and other infirmities.

Science has shown that some foods are anti-inflammatory or inflammation “soothers” and, are therefore, good for illnesses that are inflammatory in nature, like arthritis.

Basic: healthy diet

For those with subclinical (no symptoms), mild or moderate to severe arthritis, a healthy diet of fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grain, and abstinence from red meat, helps reduce the inflammation, besides being good for weight control, overall health and well-being.

Fish

Salmon, trout, tuna and other cold-water fish have omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory foods.

At least two 3-ounce serving of fish each week can do wonders for the joints and the entire body.

While eating fish is the best option, omega-3 supplements and Borage seed oil, as a less ideal alternative, may be considered by physicians for those who do not like fish.

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are loaded with antioxidants, fiber and folic acid.

They are anti-inflammatory and boost the immune system.

Top of the line are kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, and all green leafy veggies, all of which also reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer, besides arthritis.

Whole grains and nuts

Besides providing fibers, these food items also reduce inflammation and the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and cancer.

Walnuts (best nuts for the heart), almonds, pistachios.

Cashews and peanuts (high in folate and Vitamin E, and good for brain, reduce risk for Alzheimer’s) are the primary nuts.

Macadamia and pecans have higher calories and more fat contents but are accepted “secondary” nuts.

Pecans (with beta sitosterol, good for relief of benign prostatic hyperplasia) and Brazil nuts (packed with selenium are good for men to reduce prostatic cancer risk) are good nuts.

Too much selenium increases the risk of for type 2 diabetes.

Dry roasted nuts are better than those roasted in oil.

Saturated fats

The unhealthy fats, saturated fats are found in red meat and butter, and are culprits that induce inflammation.

Best substitute for saturated fats are those found in olive oil, canola oil, and even in avocado, which lower inflammation in all parts of the body and lessen pain in arthritis.

Legumes

Beans, lentils, chick peas, soy nuts and edamame are legumes popular for snacks and salad that provide wholesome meat-free protein and fiber, which reduce inflammation.

The various types of beans, in any recipe, chili and hummus, are healthy “medicinal” foods.

Calcium/Vitamin D3

Calcium and Vitamin D3, which aids in calcium metabolism, are essential items for arthritis, and for the joints per se, even if not arthritic.

They preserve bone health.

Sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, fatty fish, fortified orange juice and cereals, beef liver, green leafy vegetables.

Your physician might prescribe Calcium and D3 supplements also to get the recommended daily dose.

Standard treatment for RA

The treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes:

(1) Analgesics for pain,

(2) NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,

(3) topical counter-irritants,

(4) DMARDS or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs to stop patient’ own immune system from attacking the joints,

(5) Steroids to reduce inflammation,

(6) Biologic drugs used in conjunction with DMARDS,

(7) Physical therapy for appropriate exercises for the joints, use of braces or splints if needed,

(8) Surgery, joint replacement to remove damaged joint and replace it with an artificial one. Hip and knee replacements are very popular and effective; joint fusion, mostly for the wrist, fingers and ankle, where the ends of the two bones in the joints are resected and their ends are fused (locked) together to let them heal together as one unit.

There are now in the pipeline some promising “more powerful” medications, soon to be available as an addition to the treatment regimen for rheumatoid arthritis.

For personal management of your arthritis, specifically tailored for you and your condition, consult your physician.

As always, a healthy lifestyle is essential if we are to protect further damages to our DNA, which have sustained repeated insults from our unhealthy habits and behavior, and from environmental toxic agents since we were born.

While we have no control over the sun, we can at least protect ourselves from overexposure to it and to the industrial pollution of our air, land and water.

We can also help by not adding to the pollution and destruction of our planet, the only life-sustaining home we have at this time.

Our survival as a human race depends on how we keep our only home in the galaxy clean, healthy and safe.


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