About 1 percent of the population, (about 1.5 to 2 million people) suffers from rheumatic arthritis nationwide. There are two categories namely: juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which affects young people and rheumatoid arthritis which affect adults.
This article will explain more about rheumatoid arthritis, the diagnosis, and the role of vitamins and prescribed treatment.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Arthritis is a common term which is often used loosely. Sadly, most people are unaware that, there are over 100 types of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is just one of them.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the autoimmune system, affecting the joints of the body and other systems as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a system disease as it affects the whole body system; including the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Unlike some other cases of arthritis, one side of the foot is affected while the other is not. But in rheumatoid arthritis, both feet are usually affected.
Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Researchers have not conclusively found the main cause of rheumatoid arthritis, though it is believed to be due to genetics.
The symptoms vary among children as well as adults. It ranges from mild, affecting just a few joints in the body to severe cases which affect the whole system of the body. Early symptoms can start as early as the age of 2 while for adults they tend to show symptoms as early as 30 years of age.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Stiffness and swelling in joints, soreness, and warm feelings
- Experiencing stiffness after staying in a position for long.
- Weight loss
- A blood test will be carried out looking for the following:
- Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies
- Rheumatoid factor antibodies
- Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate(ESR, or sed rate)
- C-reactive protein
Other tests such as anemia and imaging test are carried out to narrow down the diagnosis and check the extent of the disease.
The Role of Vitamins in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
John Hopkins explains the role of vitamins in treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and some of these reasons include:
- The weight loss experienced during rheumatoid disease will result in the loss of vital nutrients and vitamins in the body
- Most people that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis usually have problems with food
- Eating the right food which adds necessary nutrient to the body can help the body immune system
It is important to understand that certain vitamins are essential in fighting this disease:
- Vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium and growth of the bone
- Vitamin E helps to increase the effectiveness of drugs used for arthritis
- Supplements of Omega-3 fatty acid can contribute to nourish body system and ease joint stiffness
- Vitamin B9, helps supplement folic acid depletion caused by some medications
- Bromelain and Turmeric which helps in reducing pain and act as an anti inflammatory aid
- Gamma linolenic acid reduces pain and swelling in the joints
- Corticosteroids usually ease rheumatoid symptoms
You should ensure a steady balance of vitamins in the body and make sure that when a deficiency of a particular vitamin is noticed, it should be treated as soon as possible.
You should also consult your doctor before you begin taking any combination of vitamins, especially during pregnancy
Vitamin D for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Medical professionals have encouraged the use of vitamin D for treating rheumatoid arthritis as they have found a link between lack of vitamin D and severe symptoms of the disease in the body.
Boosting vitamin D in the body is easy. For instance, getting sunlight for about 5 to 30 minutes is the easiest and natural way to boost vitamin D levels in the body.
You can also increase your vitamin D levels by eating fish, eggs cereals, fruit juice and soy-based food, which are very rich in vitamin D.
It is important to manage your diet properly if you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis by enhancing your meal with vitamin D rich supplement and this will help to improve your health.
While new advancement has been made to improve the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis by reducing the pain, increasing mobility, the intake of vitamin D is still necessary.