Rheumatoid Arthritis: what it is and how to manage pains and aches
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the body’s joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, known also as RA - can affect adults of any age, but most commonly starts between the ages of 40 to 60 and affects more women than men.
The main symptoms of RA tend to be stiff and painful joints, that can for some be sore and swollen. Those that live with RA can experience flare-ups - this is when ones symptoms are particularly painful and can even be debilitating.
Over 400,000 people in the UK suffer from RA - Specialists say that an early diagnosis is key and starting treatment in the initial stages will be most effective for pain management.
RA can affect any joint in the body, often starting in the hands and feet.
RA is an autoimmune condition - this means that the immune system, the body’s natural self-defence system that helps fight illness and infection, gets confused and starts to attack its own body’s healthy tissues.
Common Symptoms are:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling, warmth and redness
- Stiffness, especially first thing in the morning or after sitting still for a long time.
Other symptoms can include:
- Tiredness and lack of energy or fatigue
- Weight loss
- High temperature, or a fever
- Dry eyes
Our Eye Pillows are designed to lay, gently over the eye area to relieve dry eyes and tension.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in the body, although it is often felt in the small joints in the hands and feet first.
While it is unknown exactly what causes RA, it is suspected that the following may be significant contributors.
- Age - RA can affect adults of any age - although most people develop RA in their 40 - 60’s.
- Gender - RA is two to three times more common in women than men.
- Genetics - It’s thought that RA develops due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors - such as smoking and diet. While it is unclear, it is thought that having a relative with RA increases your chances of developing it.
- Weight - Weight can play a role in the onset of RA. Those who are overweight have a greater chance of developing RA.
- Smoking - Smoking, especially cigarette smoke has been proven to significantly increase the risk of developing RA. It’s also said that smoking will decrease the effectiveness of RA medicine.
- Diet - There is increasing evidence that if you eat lots of red meat and do not consume enough vitamin C - there is a greater chance of developing RA.
Physical activity is recommended to help decrease the chance of developing RA. For those who are diagnosed with RA, it is still strongly advised to keep up regular, light physical activity to improve your symptoms and benefit your overall health.
If symptoms get worse, this is known as a 'flare-up'. These can happen at any time, but more commonly known to occur after you have been stressed or had an infection.
A few tips on how to help yourself during a flare-up:
- Do gentle exercises - walks and very gentle stretches are good.
- Apply a heated wheat bag on the affected joints
- Apply a cold wheat bag on the affected joints
- Let people around you know, so they can help and support you.
Use the Eye Pillows as a warm compress to relieve dry eyes and apply to any part of the body - this light weight pillow can apply delicate pressure to help elevate swelling and ease cramping and pain.
The wheat bag is a safe and natural way to decrease joint stiffness, reduce pain and inflammation, and relieve muscle cramps. Our Wheat Bags are larger in size and once heated or cooled can drape over or wrap around any part of your body that is experiencing discomfort.
Each Wheat Bag is filled with natural wheat grains, which are evenly distributed over the contours of your body. Depending on what suits your needs - Our Wheat Bags can be heated in the microwave or over - also cooled in the freezer. So whether it is warm or cool therapy, our products are versatile to offer both, all year round.
Our products all come unscented to give you the choice to either keep natural or scent with essential oils of your preference. Lavender is known to help calm the mind and help relax your body.
The outlook for people with rheumatoid arthritis is improving all the time, as new and more effective treatments become available. It is possible to lead a full and active life with the condition with a combination of medicine and lifestyle changes.
With wonderful support from such charities and organisations as National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society , Versus Arthritis and Arthritis is Action to name just a few - also new emerging companies dedicated to providing specific products to support those suffering from RA, such as Arthr and us here at Blästa Henriët - Support for those living with RA is growing all with the purpose to make those living with RA an easier one.
For more information on Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week visit:
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