Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment

There’s no cure for RA, but there are treatments that can help you manage it.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can keep both patients and physicians on their toes as they figure out the best ways to treat the symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.

Recently, advances in treatment strategies have resulted in ever-improving outcomes and quality of life for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Treat to Target Rheumatoid Arthritis is a treatment philosophy that rheumatologists use to effectively manage this disease.

The treat-to-target approach has resulted in fewer symptoms and higher remission rates for those with 
RA. The treatment strategy involves:
  • setting a specific testing goal that signals either remission or low disease state
  • testing acute phase reactants and performing monthly monitoring to assess progress of treatment and management plan
  • switching medication regimen promptly if progress isn’t made.

Treatments for RA help to manage the pain and control the inflammatory response which can in many cases result in remission. Decreasing the inflammation can also help to prevent further joint and organ damage.

Treatments may include:
  • medications
  • alternative or home remedies
  • dietary changes
  • specific types of exercise

Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your medical needs.

For many people, these treatments help them live an active life and reduce the risk of long-term complications.

Rheumatoid arthritis medications

There are many types of medication for RA. Some of these medications help to reduce the pain and inflammation of RA. Some help to reduce flares and limit the damage that RA does to your joints.

The following over-the-counter medications help reduce the pain and inflammation during RA flares:
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • corticosteroids
  • acetaminophen

The following drugs work to slow the damage that RA can cause to your body:
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). DMARDs work by blocking your body’s immune system response. This helps to slow down the progression of RA.
  • Biologics. These new generation biologic DMARDs provide a targetedresponse to inflammation rather than blocking your body’s entire immune system response. They may be an effective treatment for people who don’t respond to more traditional DMARDs.
  • Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. These are a new subcategory of DMARDs that block certain immune responses. These are drugs that your healthcare provider may use to help prevent inflammation and stop damage to your joints when DMARDs and biologic DMARDs don’t work for you.

Home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis

Certain home remedies and lifestyle adjustments may help to improve your quality of life when living with RA. This includes exercise, rest, and assistive devices.

Low-impact exercises can help to improve the range of motion in your joints and increase your mobility. Exercise can also strengthen muscles, which can help to relieve some of the pressure from your joints.

You may also want to try gentle yoga which can help you regain strength and flexibility.

Get enough rest

You may need more rest during flare-ups and less during remission. Getting enough sleep will help to reduce inflammation and pain as well as fatigue.

Apply heat or cold

Ice packs or cold compresses can help to reduce inflammation and pain. They may also be effective against muscle spasms.

You can alternate cold with hot treatments such as warm showers and hot compresses. This may help to reduce stiffness.

Try assistive devices

Certain devices such as splints and braces can hold your joints in a resting position. This may help to reduce inflammation.

Canes and crutches can help you maintain mobility, even during flares. You can also install household devices, such as grab bars and handrails in bathrooms and along staircases.

Shop home remedies

  • ice packs
  • canes
  • grab bars
  • handrails
  • NSAIDs

Rheumatoid arthritis diet

Your healthcare provider or dietitian may recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to help with your symptoms. This type of diet includes foods that have lots of omega-3 fatty acids.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:
  • fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel
  • chia seeds
  • flax seeds
  • walnuts

Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, and selenium, may also help reduce inflammation. Foods high in antioxidants include:
  • berries, such as blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and strawberries
  • dark chocolate
  • spinach
  • kidney beans
  • pecans
  • artichokes

Eating lots of fiber is also important. According to some researchers, fiber may help reduce inflammatory responses which may decrease C-reactive protein levels. Choose whole grain foods, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit. Strawberries may be particularly beneficial.

Foods containing flavonoids can also help to counter inflammation in the body. They include:
  • soy products, such as tofu and miso
  • berries
  • green tea
  • broccoli
  • grapes

What you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. Make sure to avoid trigger foods. These include processed carbohydrates and saturated or trans fats.

Avoiding trigger foods and choosing the right foods in trying to follow an anti-inflammatory diet may help you manage your RA.

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