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Rheumatoid Arthritis An Autoimmune Disease

Rheumatoid Arthritis An Autoimmune Disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that results in chronic inflammation and pain in the smaller joints, such as those in your feet and hands.

It differs from the more common osteoarthritis in that rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t come from wear and tear on the joints but instead affects the synovial lining of the joints so that they swell and become inflamed.

Eventually, the cartilage wears away and you end up with bony erosion of the joints and severe joint deformity. As an autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis happens when the immune system attacks the tissues of the body, in this case, the tissues within your joints.

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis develop symptoms in other body areas, when the autoantibodies affect the eyes, blood vessels, skin, and lungs.

Rheumatoid arthritis has been known to affect children but it is usually a disease-affecting people older than 40 years of age. Like all autoimmune disorders, the disease is more common in women than it is in men.

Treatment, as you will see later, is focused on reducing your symptoms and preventing further damage to your joints.

Signs And Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, these are some things you can expect:

  • Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the morning but can last for several hours throughout the day
  • Joints that are tender to the touch, warm, sometimes reddened, and swollen. As mentioned, this usually involves the smaller joints of the body.
  • Lumps of tissue beneath the skin near the joints. These are called rheumatoid nodules and may or may not be painful to the touch.
  • Weight loss, fever, and fatigue. These are the natural effects of autoantibodies in the body tissues.
  • Swollen PIP joints. These joints connect the hands to the fingers. Eventually the joints of the feet are affected as well. Wrists, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and hips will eventually become affected by this disease. The disease is usually bilateral, meaning that they affect both sides of the body at the same time.

You may have steady symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or may have symptoms that come and go. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by flares of increased joint inflammation with periods of time where the joints are less affected.

The longer you have rheumatoid arthritis, the more likely it is that you will have joint deformities that do not go away.

Rheumatoid Arthritis An Autoimmune Disease

Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that your body has made antibodies in the immune system that attack the tissues that line the joints.

The synovium or joint lining becomes inflamed and thickened. Eventually the cartilage becomes destroyed, leaving bone to rub on bone. In the most severe cases, the bone itself will erode as well.

The ligaments and tendons that connect the joints to other tissues will stretch out and weaken so that the joint itself begins to become deformed. Exactly how this autoimmune process works is not clear.

There may be both environmental and genetic factors playing into who gets rheumatoid arthritis and who doesn’t. It’s possible that genetics interacts with environmental things like infections to result in the disease.

Risk Factors For Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are certain factors in your life that may make it more likely that you’ll get the disease. These include the following:

  • Family history. If a parent or sibling has rheumatoid arthritis, this may put you at an increased risk of getting the disease.
  • Gender. If you are female, you have a greater chance of getting the disease.
  • Age. While it can occur in a person of any age, most people are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 40 and 60 years of age.

Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t just a disease of the joints. There are several complications of the disease that you should be aware of. These include the following:

  • Lung disease. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you stand a greater chance of also having scarring and inflammation of your lungs, which can cause you to feel short of breath.
  • Osteoporosis. You can get thinning of your bones just because you have rheumatoid arthritis. Alternatively, some of the medications used to treat the disease can cause weakened bones.
  • Heart problems. People with rheumatoid arthritis have a greater chance of having blocked arteries in the heart and an increased chance of pericardial sac inflammation.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have rheumatoid arthritis in the wrist area, it can compress the carpal tunnel, which houses the median nerve. This can result in tingling and numbness of your hands and fingers.

Tests For Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the early stages of the disease, rheumatoid arthritis can mimic other joint diseases, making it difficult to diagnose the disease.

A careful physical examination by your doctor, however, might show characteristic findings of rheumatoid arthritis, including swelling of specific joints in the hands and the presence of rheumatoid nodules.

There is a blood test for rheumatoid arthritis that can clinch the diagnosis. It is called the “rheumatoid factor,” which is a test that detects the autoantibodies that are acting on your joints. Other tests for inflammation can help aid in the diagnosis of the disease.

There are characteristic x-ray findings for rheumatoid arthritis. The joints will look deformed and there will be a lack of joint space noted on x-ray as the disease progresses.

Rheumatoid Arthritis An Autoimmune Disease

Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Because there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment is directed at controlling your symptoms and helping you feel better. There are some medications that will slow the degree of joint damage you will experience.

There are several types of drugs used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Some are relatively easy to tolerate, while others have serious side effects that you should be aware of.

Doctors usually start with the medications that are easiest to tolerate first. Here are some good treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

Steroids. Steroid medications, such as prednisone or prednisolone, are helpful in that they reduce the pain and inflammation of the joints and can reduce the rate of joint damage.

Unfortunately, they have side effects, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and weight gain. Steroids are especially good when you have flares of the disease and are not meant to take chronically.

NSAID medication. These include medications like ibuprofen and naproxen (unless you get one prescribed by the doctor). They are not without side effects, however, and these include liver damage, kidney damage, irritation of the stomach, heart problems, and tinnitus.

Anti-Rheumatic drugs. These medications can actually lessen the damage done by the autoantibodies so that the joints aren’t permanently damaged. Medications in this class include Plaquenil, Azulfidine, methotrexate, and leflunomide.

Because they can affect your immune system, they can cause side effect including suppression of your bone marrow, lung infections, and liver problems.

Biologic medications. These represent a new class of medications that act on the immune system so that there is less inflammation and less joint damage.

They can cause an increase in infections because they affect the immune system. Choices of biologic medications include adalimumab, abatacept, certolizumab, rituximab, and infliximab.

Physical therapy. You may wish to see a physical therapist who can help you learn various exercises that will keep your joints more flexible. They may also help you learn how to do things around the house that don’t involve using your hands.

Assistive devices may be prescribed for you that will help you do things without stressing the joints too much.

Surgery. Surgery can be done that can repair the damage to your joints. This includes things like joint replacement in which the damaged joints are removed and a prosthetic joint is put in its place.

Tendons can also be repaired. In the worst case scenario, the surgeon can fuse the joints together so they don’t rub against one another.

 


Gluten Free Diet and It’s Health Benefits

Gluten Free Diet and It’s Health Benefits

A gluten free diet and it’s health benefits In the 50’s and 60’s people didn’t have the health concerns that are now present in a large portion of the population.

People tend to ask why that is? Technology has changed, research has been done, and cures have been found, so why are we a sicker population now than we were 50 or 60 years ago?

The answer may surprise you, but if you think about things for a minute, you’ll see it’s not as surprising as you may think. We live in a society that’s money hungry. Whether we mean to be that way or not, the sad truth is we are and it’s the way it is and will be for years to come. We need money to be happy and happiness is everything in life.

We now know that with the growing concern for the quality of food we eat. People are seeking healthier alternatives other than the microwavable frozen stuff we feed ourselves and our families. A gluten free diet is the way to go for most Americans.

With the need of money and happiness comes a price we must pay and that is price is very high when it comes to the health problems we’re beginning to see due to these needs and wants. Is it worth it? When your health is involved, the answer is most definitely NO!

Health Benefits of Going Gluten-Free

Farmers need more crops to not only accommodate their buyers, but to also satisfy their pocketbooks and those purchasing from the buyers are the ones paying the price for the farmers desires. While it’s unfortunate, it’s the sad truth, but if we do what we need to do we can overcome these problems and eliminate the purchases we make from the farmers that have these desires.

People are living longer and the population is growing. Food is grown faster than it did 50 or 60 years ago and because of this the quality of the food we eat is not as good as it once was. Additives and preservatives are added to the food for longer shelf life. A Gluten free diet is one of the more popular fads in advertising, you see it in newspapers, magazines and on packages in your local supermarkets.

Gluten allergies and sensitivities are two of the problems that’s on the rise and the reason is because of the farmers using chemicals and other things to increase the number of crops they can produce in one season. They’re making their crops grow bigger and faster so they can produce double or maybe even triple what they used to do in the 50’s and 60’s. This gives them more product to sale and more money in their product.

These chemicals are changing the product they’re producing which makes it more difficult for our bodies to digest. They’re also creating foods that have preservatives in them so they’ll last longer or have the ability to sit on a shelf instead of in the fridge. The ingredients needed to produce the preservatives include gluten which causes problem for the people that eat them.

Health Benefits of Going Gluten-Free

Eliminating gluten from the diet has proved over and over to be the best thing people can do when they have issues with their gut. It’s also thought to help children with autism and other illnesses along those lines to be better. Eliminating foods with gluten has helped people with immune system problems as well as those with stomach and intestinal issues.

When you remove these problems from your life you’ll feel better. You’ll have more energy and the desire to live a happy life. Once you come to the realization that gluten was the problem, eliminating it won’t be the hardest thing to do because you’ll understand eating those foods will bring on the pain and frustration that you don’t need in your life.

 


Diabetics And A Healthy Life Plan

Diabetics And A Healthy Life Plan

Diabetics have a tougher time eating healthy. When you have diabetes it does not mean that you have to eat bland food for the rest of your life.

You do although need to learn what is going to be good for you and what is bad for your body. You need to create a healthy diet that will keep your life healthy and give you the nutrients that your body needs to keep heart disease away.

You need to control your intake of carbohydrates because it is important for diabetics. This is because of the excess carbohydrates will turn into sugars in the body and diabetics should be careful about the amount of getting too many carbohydrates in their diet.

This will affect their blood sugar levels. Diabetics can learn about how to count their carbs from nutritionists or a book that is good on the subject.
This can help them in deciding how much to eat and with what type of meal.

Diabetics And A Healthy Life Plan

What is really bad for the diabetic to eat? This is what would be a bad diet for everyone else. The answer is a diet that is high in fat, salt, sugar and the over processed foods that you can find. This sort of foods is often filled with poly saturated fats or trans fat, which cannot be burned off through exercise.

They are going to stay in the body and clog up the arteries. If you have diabetes it can be the worst thing for your diet and this will increase your chances of getting heart disease, stroke, and other heart problems that can lead to complications.

This will not mean that you have to cut out the fat forever, however some fats are healthy and necessary. It is very important if you have diabetes to know which fats and foods are good for you and which fats are harmful for you too.

Fats are found mostly in processed foods and found in most of the fast food restaurants and are not healthy. Omega –3 fatty acids are found more in fish and are very good for diabetics due to the fact that they can help decrease the risk of sudden heart attack.

When you are working on your diet, you need to remember that you can still have some sugars and fats but in lower amounts. The way that these foods act with your body will increase the chances of health problems happening in your body.

Diabetics And A Healthy Life Plan

You need to eliminate them from your diet so that you can have the good effects for your health that your body needs for ascertain amount of fat to be healthier. When you are a diabetic it does not mean that you have to limit your diet to foods that have no taste.

You can still have the foods that you want as long as you keep the portions under control. It is about taking control so that you are not eating more than what your body can process and that is the diet that everyone should have in their life to be healthy and happy too.

 

Binge Eating and It’s Dangers

Binge Eating and It’s Dangers

Binge eating is not just a habit. There is an actual disease called “binge eating disorder” in which you eat abnormally large amounts of food with an inability to stop eating when your body is technically full.

This is a dangerous, life threatening condition, but help is available and recover is possible. While you can over eat every once in a while, binge eaters consistently eat too much but do not use laxatives or purge to get rid of the food.

Many people who have binge eating disorder have weight problems but some are of a normal weight.

The signs and symptoms of having binge eating disorder include the following:

• Having out of control eating behaviors
• Eating huge amounts of food over a short period of time.
• Eating even when you aren’t hungry.
• Eating rapidly when you binge eat.
• Eating in secret or when you are alone.
• Feeling ashamed, guilty, or depressed about your eating behavior.
• Always going on a diet, usually without success.

Risk Factors for Binge Eating

There are some factors in your life that can increase your chances of having a binge-eating problem. These include the following:

• Psychological problems. Most people who have this problem have a negative self-image and don’t feel positive about their accomplishments and skills. You can overeat because you are bored, stressed out, or have a poor image of your body.
• Family history. If you have a first-degree relative such as a sibling or a parent who suffer from binge eating difficulties, you might be at an increased risk yourself. It may mean that there are some hereditary factors that relate to developing this type of eating disorder.
• Over dieting. If you have a long history of dieting as far back as childhood, this may have been a way of compensating for times in which you were otherwise overeating.
• Age. You can have binge eating disorder at any age but most people have an onset of the disorder in their teens or in their early twenties.

 

 

The Dangers of Binge Eating

Binge Eating and It's Dangers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Binge eating can cause you both physical and psychological problems. Some of the major dangers of binge eating include the following:

• Feeling terrible about yourself
• Feeling bad about how your life is going
• Having problems functioning in your personal life, in social situations, or in the work environment.
• Having a poor quality of life.
• Being socially isolated from others.
• Suffering from obesity or being overweight.
• Having medical problems as a result of being obese, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis of the joints, gastroesophageal reflux disease (also called GERD), and breathing problems such as sleep apnea.

The psychiatric disorders most commonly linked to binge eating problems includes things like bipolar disorder, depressive symptoms, anxiety disorders, and illicit drug use.

Diagnosing Binge Eating Disorder

In order to make the diagnosis of binge eating disorder, you may need to see a psychological professional for a full evaluation of your eating behaviors.

Tests to evaluate the possibility that the binge eating has already affected your health include testing for things like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterol, gastrointestinal disorder, and sleep apnea disorder.

The doctor may do a complete physical examination, take blood or urine tests, and perhaps refer you to a center for sleep disorders for a consultation.

The Dangers Of Binge Eating

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the following things must be in place in order to make the diagnosis of binge eating disorder:

• Having a lack of control about eating, including how much you eat and whether or not you can actually stop eating.
• Having recurrent attacks of overeating a large amount of food over a short period of time.
• Having these factors related to eating: eating to the point where you feel extremely full, eating very quickly, eating alone because you are embarrassed about your eating, or feeling depressed, guilty or disgusted about your eating behaviors.
• Having concern about your eating habits.
• Engaging in binge eating at least once weekly for a period of three months or more.
• Eating that is unassociated with purging, laxative abuse, or excessive exercise.

Binge eating can be dangerous. It affects your overall health and can lead to mental problems that only perpetuate the eating problem.

 

Acceptable Foods and Which to Avoid

Acceptable Foods and Which to Avoid

When it comes to the foods you can eat when you are on a gluten-free diet the avoidable foods list is much longer than the list of foods you can have.

There are so many foods now that have preservatives and other ingredients that are a part of the gluten family that it makes it much more difficult to eat, but it’s not impossible if you know what to look for.

Foods that contain cornmeal, flax, millet, amaranth, and arrowroot are just a few of the ingredients you can have. This makes it a little easier to make your own or find foods you can have. You’ll find hominy, buckwheat, and tapioca are also ingredients you can have when you’re on a gluten-free diet.

Unless you have other food allergies the following foods are allowed for those on the gluten-free diet.

1. Fresh eggs
2. Fruits and vegetables
3. Beans, nuts, and seeds
4. Most dairy products
5. Fresh meats like poultry and fish

Acceptable Foods and Which to Avoid

You do have to be careful with some of these foods though because they may contain added ingredients that could cause you problems. If your meats are made with a marinade or are breaded you may not be able to eat them.

Unless you do it yourself and you’re sure they don’t contain gluten it’s not a good idea to eat them. A lot of these types of added ingredients contain gluten in some form.

The list of foods to avoid is much longer than the ones you can have, so it’s vital you know exactly what to look for so you know you’re eating safe foods. Here are a few for you to look for.

1. Barley in almost any form (this includes malt flavoring or vinegar)
2. Wheat
3. Triticale (this is a cross between rye and wheat)
4. Rye

Ingredients to look for that need to be avoided include the following.

1. Semolina
2. Spelt
3. Farina
4. Kamut
5. Bulgur
6. Durum flour
7. Graham flour

There are a number of foods you need to avoid when eating gluten-free because they contain many of the ingredients known to contain gluten. They would include some of the following.

1. French Fries
2. Pasta’s
3. Salad Dressings
4. Soups and soup bases
5. Croutons
6. Processed lunch meats
7. Sauces
8. Seasoned rice mixes

Acceptable Foods and Which to Avoid

There are many more types of foods you must avoid. Some are regional while others may be known only to families. The most important thing to remember is ask if you’re unsure of the ingredients.

Avoiding foods is hard to do, but you must make it work for you when you eat gluten-free. No matter how good you feel or how small the amount of gluten is in a food you want to have, it’s just not worth the risk.

It’s also important to remember, natural doesn’t necessarily mean you can eat it, so it’s best to avoid the foods listed above that are dangerous for those that eat gluten-free and enjoy the ones listed above that are save and good for you to eat.